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Mon, 19 Nov 2018
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


The science on the importance of fathers

father and son retro
© flickr
In 1960, only 10% of children were raised without a father in the home.

Today, 40% are.

There are many reasons behind this sobering statistic. The clichéd case of a man knocking up a woman, and then leaving town never to return certainly still occurs.

But sometimes a man's ex-wife petitions for primary custody of their kids, and sympathetic family courts unjustly grant this request about 80% of the time.

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Why our heroes always let us down

Ocasio-Cortez tweet
Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is drawing fire from the antiwar left, and not for the first, second or third time. The same leftist contingent which has been energizing Ocasio-Cortez's campaign and elevating her to the public spotlight has been voicing increasing concerns about her antiwar platform temporarily vanishing from her campaign website, about her walking back from her position on the Israeli government's massacring of Palestinian protesters with sniper fire, about her weirdly hawkish criticism of the GOP as being "weak on national security", and her deference to the establishment Russia narrative.

And now, as multiple outlets have documented in articles released in the last few hours, many of Ocasio-Cortez's supporters have been upset with a statement she made praising the recently deceased warmongering psychopath John McCain and his blood-soaked legacy.


Corporate psychopaths threaten us all

Psychopaths Rule our World
© SOTT.net
The agribusiness giant Monsanto has been found guilty in a San Francisco court of concealing its knowledge that its flagship herbicide Roundup can cause cancer. Lawyers for the prosecution showed the jury secret internal documents proving Monsanto executives had known for decades that glyphosate, the active ingredient, could cause cancer, despite steadfastly assuring the public that Roundup was safe.

The plaintiff was 46-year-old Dewayne Johnson, a former groundkeeper, who suffers from terminal lymphatic cancer after repeatedly using Roundup in his former job.

The jurors found that Monsanto must pay $US39 million in compensatory damages and $US250m in punitive damages, and said Monsanto had acted with "malice or oppression". Johnson's lawyer said the verdict sent a "message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup are over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits". Over 5000 other cases are pending.

People who aggressively market a product in full knowledge that it could potentially cause the deaths of thousands worldwide have no conscience. Such individuals are psychopaths.

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SOTT Logo Radio

The Truth Perspective: The Strange Order of Things: The Common Roots of Consciousness and Culture

strange order of things
Renowned neuroscientist Antonio Damasio's newest book, The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures, makes some revolutionary claims. All organisms with nervous systems have consciousness. Feeling-based images are at the root all human experience. Consciousness would be impossible without feelings, which provide the subjective experience of homeostasis - a biological state of order that aims toward the future. Culture is rooted in feeling and is the complex means by which humanity seeks to survive and thrive within that homeostasis.

Today on the Truth Perspective we discuss Damasio's main arguments, where his genius shines through, and where his thinking is hampered by a philosophy that ultimately cannot account for the phenomena he seeks to explain. With reference to other thinkers and philosophies, we provide an alternative explanation that takes these mysteries seriously - the so-called emergence of consciousness and value, the nature of the individual, and the source of transcendence - and what it means for how we should think about life, our place in the world, and our ultimate responsibilities.

Running Time: 01:34:37

Download: OGG, MP3

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Book 2

Silence in the age of noise

Author Erling Kagge shows us why silence is essential to sanity and happiness-and how it can open doors to wonder and gratitude.

Contrary to what I believed when I was younger, the basic state of our brain is one of chaos.

The reason that it took me so long to understand this is that my days often pass on autopilot. I sleep, wake up, check my phone, shower, eat and head off to work. Here I respond to messages, attend meetings, read and converse. My own and others' expectations of how my day is supposed to unfold guide my hours up until the hour when I lie down again to sleep.

Whenever I fall out of this rut and sit quietly in a room alone, without any goal, without anything to look at, the chaos surfaces. It is difficult only to sit there. Multiple temptations surface. My brain, which functions so well on autopilot, is no longer helpful. It's not easy being idle when nothing else is going on, it is quiet and you are alone. I often choose to do anything else rather than to fill the silence with myself.

Comment: Attention restoration theory: What happens to our brain when we experience complete silence and peace of mind?

Light Saber

It's time to develop a self-reliant mentality and stop being a self-entitled millennial

reliance 1
The first thing we're going to cover in this series on 31 bits of know-how you should learn before heading out on your own, is really more of a mind-set than a skill-set, but it's a crucial building block that will lay the foundation for the rest of the "harder," more practical skills we'll be covering throughout the month.

It's developing a self-reliant mentality.

Part of being a grown man is taking care of yourself and making your own decisions. It isn't until you're on your own that you realize how much you relied on adults to make your life run smoothly. From doing your laundry to calling the doctor when you're sick, your parents likely did a lot of things for you.

While you might not be completely self-sufficient right when you move out (many young people rely on their parents for varying degrees of financial support well into their twenties), you can certainly be self-reliant in a number of areas in your life. For example, you shouldn't need your mom to remind you about important appointments or your dad to bug you about taking your car in to get its routine maintenance. You should be able to remember to do those things yourself. A man with a self-reliant mentality doesn't wait around for someone else to take care of things that need to be taken care of. If he encounters a problem, he takes the initiative and tries to figure out how to resolve it himself.

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We live in uncertain times: How to navigate with poise

dealing with uncertainty
Our brains are hardwired to make much of modern life difficult. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with uncertainty. On the bright side, if you know the right tricks, you can override your brain's irrational tendencies and handle uncertainty with poise.

Our brains give us fits when facing uncertainty because they're wired to react to it with fear. In a recent study, a Caltech neuroeconomist imaged subjects' brains as they were forced to make increasingly uncertain bets-the same kind of bets we're forced to make on a regular basis in business.

The less information the subjects had to go on, the more irrational and erratic their decisions became. You might think the opposite would be true-the less information we have, the more careful and rational we are in evaluating the validity of that information. Not so. As the uncertainty of the scenarios increased, the subjects' brains shifted control over to the limbic system, the place where emotions, such as anxiety and fear, are generated.

Heart - Black

The dark core of personality measured

evil eye psychopath
© Getty Images
What's your dark core score?

Over 100 years ago, Charles Spearman made two monumental discoveries about human intelligence. First, a general factor of intelligence (g) exists: people who score high on one test of intelligence also tend to score high on other tests of intelligence. Second, Spearman found that the g-factor conforms to the principle of the "indifference of the indicator": It doesn't matter what test of intelligence you administer; as long as the intelligence test is sufficiently cognitively complex and has enough items, you can reliably and validly measure a person's general cognitive ability.

Fast forward to 2018, and a hot-off-the-press paper suggests that the very same principle may not only apply to human cognitive abilities, but also to human malevolence. New research conducted by a team from Germany and Denmark suggest that a General Dark Factor of Personality (D-factor) exists among the human population, and that this factor conforms to the principle of indifference of the indicator. This is big news, so let's take a look.

Comment: Further reading:

Red Pill

Society is made of narratives - Realizing this is one step to awakening from The Matrix

In the movie The Matrix, humans are imprisoned in a virtual world by a powerful artificial intelligence system in a dystopian future. What they take to be reality is actually a computer program that has been jacked into their brains to keep them in a comatose state. They live their whole lives in that virtual simulation, without any way of knowing that what they appear to be experiencing with their senses is actually made of AI-generated code.

Life in our current society is very much the same. The difference is that instead of AI, it's psychopathic oligarchs who are keeping us asleep in the Matrix. And instead of code, it's narrative.

Alarm Clock

Slowness rage: How to reset your internal timer and regain patience

crowds manhattan
Slowness rage is not confined to the sidewalk, of course. Slow drivers, slow Internet, slow grocery lines--they all drive us crazy. You too can measure yourself on the "Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale," a tool developed by University of Hawaii psychologist Leon James. While walking in a crowd, do you find yourself "acting in a hostile manner (staring, presenting a mean face, moving closer or faster than expected)" and "enjoying thoughts of violence?"

Slow things drive us crazy because the fast pace of society has warped our sense of timing. Things that our great-great-grandparents would have found miraculously efficient now drive us around the bend. Patience is a virtue that's been vanquished in the Twitter age.

Once upon a time, cognitive scientists tell us, patience and impatience had an evolutionary purpose. They constituted a yin and yang balance, a finely tuned internal timer that tells when we've waited too long for something and should move on. When that timer went buzz, it was time to stop foraging at an unproductive patch or abandon a failing hunt.

"Why are we impatient? It's a heritage from our evolution," says Marc Wittmann, a psychologist at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany. Impatience made sure we didn't die from spending too long on a single unrewarding activity. It gave us the impulse to act.