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Fearing fear itself

fear
© Peter Marlow/Magnum
Once parents felt children needed a little fear to grow up well. Today they are desperately protective. What went wrong?

How much fear, anxiety and risk can children handle? Until the late 19th century, most people thought that the answer was quite a lot. Aristotle himself said that education might be defined as teaching us to fear aright. It was widely believed that a sense of fear made a positive contribution to the formation of a child's character. That fear was regarded as essential for the education of children was spelled out by the Church Missionary Society in 1819, when it stated that 'it is necessary, that children fear the Schoolmasters'. Children's experience of fear was sometimes portrayed as essential for developing their powers of imagination and creativity. For example in 1848, the Christian Register advised parents that a 'child who has never known any kind of fear can have no power of imagination: can feel no wonder, no impulse of life, nor awe or veneration'.

Contrast to the culture of today, where entertainment is age-appropriate; where the wrong word (or microaggression) is said to trigger an anxiety attack; where the ultimate fear, of separation, is seen as so damaging that, if not managed well, can ruin the child for life. Childhood fears, and fear of those fears, seem ubiquitous: Fear of bullies, not to mention active shooters and public gatherings. Fear of wars and accidents streaming in through the TV. Most modern parents would no more try to frighten a child than they would beat the child with whips or send that child to a year of hard labour on a chain gang, but feel stymied by the onslaught of the world. We are mightily attuned to children's fears, and strive to blunt them at all cost.

Nebula

Ian Stevenson: Birthmarks and birth defects corresponding to wounds on deceased persons

Dr. Ian Stevenson
© Society for Psychical Research
Dr. Ian Stevenson
Abstract

Almost nothing is known about why pigmented birthmarks (moles or nevi) occur in particular locations of the skin. The causes of most birth defects are also unknown. About 35% of children who claim to remember previous lives have birthmarks and/or birth defects that they (or adult informants) attribute to wounds on a person whose life the child remembers.

The cases of 210 such children have been investigated. The birthmarks were usually areas of hairless, puckered skin; some were areas of little or no pigmentation (hypopigmented macules); others were areas of increased pigmentation (hyperpigmented nevi). The birth defects were nearly always of rare types.

In cases in which a deceased person was identified the details of whose life unmistakably matched the child's statements, a close correspondence was nearly always found between the birthmarks and/or birth defects on the child and the wounds on the deceased person. In 43 of 49 cases in which a medical document (usually a postmortem report) was obtained, it confirmed the correspondence between wounds: and birthmarks (or birth defects).

There is little evidence that parents and other informants imposed a false identity on the child in order to explain the child's birthmark or birth defect. Some paranormal process seems required to account for at least some of the details of these cases, including the birthmarks and birth defects.

Comment: For more on Dr. Stevenson's work on reincarnation, see:


Question

What's in a name? The surprising ways your name affects your life

name board
© Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters


From dating to job prospects, a name has remarkable power over the path of its owner's life.


I was at a party for Bastille Day in Paris a few years back, and we were leaning over the balcony to watch the fireworks. A cute French girl sat next to me, but after a few flirty glances the moment was entirely ruined with the most basic of interactions: "What's your name?" she asked in French. "Cody," I said.

That was it. We were done. "Co-zee?" she said, sounding out the entirely foreign name, looking more disgruntled with each try. "Col-bee?" "Cot-ee?"

Family

Not in front of the kids: Children can detect their parents' emotional suppression

sad family
"Not in front of the kids." It's an age-old plea for parents to avoid showing conflict and strong negative emotions around their children. But new research from a Washington State University scientist disagrees, showing that it's better to express negative emotions in a healthy way than to tamp them down.

After people suppress compassionate feelings, they lose a bit of their commitment to morality.

Sara Waters, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development on the WSU Vancouver campus, and co-authors from the University of California, Berkley and the University of California, San Francisco, write about their findings in the journal Emotion.

"We wanted to look at how we suppress emotions and how that changes the way parents and kids interact," Waters said. "Kids pick up on suppression, but it's something a lot of parents think is a good thing to do."

Info

Muscle tension caused by trapped emotions

muscle tension
Your body is a map and storage house of every experience you have ever had.

So many of us carry repressed and trapped emotions within multiple areas of our bodies, without even knowing it. In fact, we can go for years, even decades, completely oblivious to the blocked energy our muscles are holding on to. This repressed energy is responsible for countless ailments and chronic health conditions that cause us great suffering.

The fact is that your body doesn't forget.

Your body is the most honest and obvious way to access trapped feelings and even traumatic memories. No matter how much you try to ignore, intellectualize or suppress how you feel, your body knows the truth.

If you are struggling with chronic tension in your neck, shoulders, back, thighs, legs, or any other area of your body, this article may help you get to the root of your pain, once and for all.

Comment: Keys to releasing stress and trauma stored in our physical body


Laptop

Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology: Facebook can cause depression

facebook
A new report conducted by psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania have determined that an excessive amount of time on "social media" sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are making millennials depressed."It was striking," said Melissa Hunt, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who led the study. "What we found over the course of three weeks was that rates of depression and loneliness went down significantly for people who limited their (social media) use."

The study, "No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression," is being published in December's Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

Researchers recruited 143 students for two different trials, one in the spring semester and one in the fall semester. Each subject was required to have a Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat account, plus an Apple iPhone. They collected data on the students for about a week to get a baseline reading of their social media usage, and also had them submit questionnaires that assessed their mental health according to seven different factors: social support, fear of missing out, loneliness, autonomy, and self-acceptance, anxiety, depression, and self-esteem.

Roses

Political division is destroying civil society - but feeling gratitude can lift us up

thank you
Civil society seems to be waning. People are losing respect for the conditions that allow human beings to flourish, warns Jonah Goldberg in his book Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy.


Comment: We can't vouch for the book mentioned above, but from the title we may infer that it's something of a mixed bag.

See: NewsReal: Populism Explained and The Real Problem with Nationalism, Without the Virtue Signaling


Goldberg, a columnist for the National Review, defines civil society as "that vast social ecosystem-family, schools, churches, associations, sports, business, local communities, etc.-that mediates life between the state and the individual." Goldberg adds, "It is a healthy civil society, not the state, that civilizes people."

As more Americans place politics at the core of their identity, civil society erodes. Is authoritarianism the inevitable result of a quest to find meaning through politics?

Comment:




Info

New Study: Human brain stays alive for hours after death

One question that has baffled mankind is "after-death experience" or the experience after the heart stops beating. There have been anecdotal reports of a person being able to understand and hear what is happening around them even after they have been declared dead. A team of researchers have found that the brain works for a while after the heart has stopped. The research is reported in an a journal paper titled, 'AWARE-AWAreness during REsuscitation-A prospective study.'
Aware Study
© Triff/Shutterstock
The team of scientists from New York's Stony Brook University of Medicine, looked at patients with cardiac arrests in Europe and the US. They noted that those of the patients who were successfully resuscitated after their heart had stopped beating could recall the conversations around them between the healthcare personnel and were aware of their surroundings.

Chart Bar

Bad Science - Psychopaths and successful creative types have one thing in common

painted face

They say you should never meet your heroes. There's plenty of reasons why, but in the case of your creative heroes, it might be because they're jerks.

The idea of the "cantankerous creative" has likely been around since the first arrogant caveman learned to make fire. Pablo Picasso carried around a revolver loaded with blanks that he'd fire at people he disliked. H.P. Lovecraft was a staggering racist, even for his time. Thomas Edison happily electrocuted an elephant to discredit his rival, Nikola Tesla. It seems like creative people - whether gifted in the visual arts, science, writing, or what have you - are often thoroughly unpleasant people.

While creative success may make one bigheaded, an emerging stream of research is showing that creativity and being a real jerk may actually have a more intimate relationship. In fact, for some people, being a bit of a psychopath might nudge one toward creative success.

Comment: This study is ridiculous. What they basically found out is that psychopaths and successful artists are both disagreeable extraverts. Disagreeable people are more successful on average, because when also assertive (extraverted), they are more inclined to push themselves to be successful. So naturally, successful artists will on average be more disagreeable and extraverted than unsuccessful artists (who are probably more introverted and agreeable).

The idea of a 'prosocial psychopath' is an oxymoron. By definition, psychopaths are not prosocial. And while psychopaths may be disagreeable and extraverted by nature, being disagreeable and extraverted does not make one a psychopath.

See also:


Brain

Cortisol the 'stress hormone' linked to early toll on thinking ability

stress
© Francesco Sambati Getty Images
Brain changes, visible on scans, are also associated with Alzheimer's precursors

The stresses of everyday life may start taking a toll on the brain in relatively early middle age, new research shows. The study of more than 2,000 people, most of them in their 40s, found those with the highest levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol performed worse on tests of memory, organization, visual perception and attention.

Higher cortisol levels, measured in subjects' blood, were also found to be associated with physical changes in the brain that are often seen as precursors to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, according to the study published in October in Neurology.

Comment: Study finds that our decision-making skills in stressful situations influenced by cortisol