Religion and Terrorism: The of Self-Deception

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From Mark Chironna

Psychologist Tori DeAngelis asserts, “the psychology of terrorism is marked more by theory and opinion than by good science”. Nevertheless, there are researchers in the field of psychology as well as psychology and religious studies that have offered insights worthy of consideration. James Jones, Professor of Religion at Rutgers is also a Senior Research Fellow at John Jay’s College Center On Terrorism. Jones notes that “religiously driven terrorism” has its roots in “shame and humiliation” which leads to extremely violent acts. Forensic psychologist James Gilligan in work done with prisoners asserts that there is a correlative condition that is established with violent acts when shame and humiliation are present. Yet shame and humiliation, while valid in terms of reasons for violence and terrorism do not tell the entire story. Continue reading

Always Late? 9 Tips for Overcoming Chronic Lateness.

13912557367_9cacc5c8d1_zIf you’re chronically tardy, how do you start showing up on time?

Many people have the habit of constantly running late — and they drive themselves, and other people, crazy.

Now, I have the opposite problem — I’m pathologically early, and often arrive places too soon. This is annoying, as well, but in a different way. As I write this, I’m realizing that I assume that chronic earliness is very rare. But maybe it’s not. Are you chronically early?

In any event, more people seem bothered by chronic lateness. Feeling as though you’re always running twenty minutes behind schedule is an unhappy feeling. Having to rush, forgetting things in your haste, dealing with annoyed people when you arrive…it’s no fun.

If you find yourself chronically late, what steps can you take to be more prompt? That depends on why you’re late. As my Eighth Commandment holds, the first step is to Identify the problem – then you can see more easily what you need to change.

There are many reasons you might be late, but some are particularly common. Are you late because… Continue reading

What’s the Point of Being Human? The Best Answer So Far

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By Deepak Chopra, MD

The point of being human is to push the envelope of being human. This is worth remembering when times are tough and we lose confidence in ourselves. No other creature on earth has the capacity to redefine itself. We do.  How humans gained this ability remains a totally mystery. Looking at physical remains, it’s possible—although controversial—to outline the evolutionary march from ape to hominid, from hominid to Homo, and finally from Homo to our specific species Homo sapiens.

But the physical evidence is blurry at times, and even a simple achievement like the discovery of fire is up in the air; estimates could be off by hundreds of thousands of years. But not a single physical trait explains why we are self-aware. Awareness gave us the ability to push the envelope of being human. Ten thousand years ago the higher brain, the cerebral cortex, was a finished structure, more or less. In other creatures, once their brains are finished, that’s the limit. An elephant’s huge brain allows, we think, for emotional empathy. Elephants grieve over the dead and are emotionally tied to one another.

But an elephant’s brain can’t do math, write poetry, or invent the atom bomb. The human brain is the secret, physically speaking, behind our incredible abilities with language, tool-making, art, and weaponry. But no one knows the secret behind how the mind uses this brain. On the one hand, we remain totally confused about who we really are. We don’t even know if we are basically good or bad. At the moment, opinion has turned us into baddies destroying the environment. But that’s a lopsided view, given the fact that no matter how horrible our behavior, we can look in the mirror and change it.

If this is true—and it seems undeniable—then what’s the next stage in pushing the envelope? No one knows, because the whole point of human evolution is that you can’t predict where it’s going. Indeed, none of us knows what our next thought will be. We plunge into the unknown at every second. But in the face of confusion, uncertainty, and low morale, one possibility remains untarnished. We are likely to become even more self-aware. That’s the pattern that has held good for all of recorded history, and despite every catastrophic setback and horrifying turn of events, the march of awareness continues. Continue reading

Loving You? Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Unsure

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February 14th is a day we hold synonymous with love and romance. We plan dates, write love letters, and celebrate our other half, but when was the last time you checked in with yourself? Would you even know if you were not treating yourself well?

When it comes to checking in on your own love and well being, here are some honest questions to ask yourself to hone in on whether or not you are giving yourself the time and attention needed: Continue reading

Security or Surveillance: Who Sees What You Share?

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Social media has made it easier than ever before to have your opinions and views heard. Facebook, Twitter, and other major social media networks around the world have given individuals a collective ‘voice’ of unprecedented scope and power. With a simple hashtag or ‘share’, a small conversation between just a few individuals can spark a larger debate with far-reaching implications. Millions can weigh in on topics ranging from the benign to the profound; proclaiming a passion for yoga or distrust of genetically-modified foods as well as sharing cute photos of nieces and nephews.

Yet many social media and Internet users are unaware of the additional weight their personal information carries. Today it’s safe to say that any data transmitted via digital device isn’t private – in addition to government agencies, it’s become common practice for the marketing arm of corporations, HR departments, and other entities to seek out and ‘mine’ the data willingingly shared to social media sites as well as via other digital tools.

In addition to well-known NSA activities, the government hires data retrieval companies to compile what they call “public opinion.” By keeping track of who is influencing the most individuals with their postings, it’s possible to keep tabs on certain activists and compile a “watch list” of groups on the forefront of social disruption. Even with your privacy settings on their highest restriction within your social media preferences, these data retrieval companies can still gain clearance and obtain personal information. Continue reading

Students at the Forefront of the Iowa Caucus

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Photo borrowed from Kid Unity

Traveling from Los Angeles to Iowa, a group of 6th graders experienced the political process in a remarkable and personal way. The day of the Iowa Caucus, where the first votes for the next president of the United States will be cast, these kids were meeting candidates, interviewing political reporters and touring the site of this important event.

“As the next generation of voters, it’s important that we study the candidates, issues and process. Our classroom is on the front lines.” -Carlthorp Student

I followed their twitter feed throughout the Caucus, inspired and hopeful for the future. Here are their impressions and learnings in their own words… Continue reading

Right Now: My Favorite Podcasts

Do you know what a podcast is?

I don’t ask that rudely. A lot of people don’t and today I want to share my favorites because you might be missing out on some good stuff! Just as everyone was sure old media forms were dying (translate: radio, newspapers, TV) thanks to the internet, the internet brought me one of my new favorite things: podcasts!

You, yes you, could make a podcast for pretty much nothing (if not nothing) and share it with the whole for for pretty much nothing and that is cool because we now have access to stories, information, people we might’ve never known before. So many are free. Unlike radio, they’re stored and ready whenever you are. You can come back to them again and again. It’s now my preferred listening material when I exercise or drive.

And if you’ve never listened to any, here are some of my current favorites: Continue reading

Lonely? 5 Habits to Consider to Combat Loneliness.

3267049486_bce4b38cba_bOne major challenge within happiness is loneliness.  The more I’ve learned about happiness, the more I’ve come to believe that loneliness is a terrible, common, and important obstacle to consider.

Of course, being alone and being lonely aren’t the same. Loneliness feels draining, distracting, and upsetting; desired solitude feels peaceful, creative, restorative.

According to Elizabeth Bernstein’s Wall Street Journal piece, Alone or Lonely, the rate of loneliness in the U.S. has doubled over the past thirty years. About 40% of Americans report being lonely; in the 1980s, it was 20%. (One reason: more people live alone: 27% in 2012; 17% in 1970).

Loneliness is a serious issue, Sometimes people ask me, “If you had to pick just one thing, what would be the one secret to a happy life?” If I had to pick one thing, I’d say: strong bonds with other people.  The wisdom of the ages and the current scientific studies agree on this point. When we don’t have that, we feel lonely.

I wrote a book about habits, Better Than Before, and I continue to be obsessed with the subject. Whenever I think about a happiness challenge, I ask myself, “How could habits help address this problem?”

Here are some habits to consider: Continue reading

Who Controls Your Mind? (Hint: It’s Not Your Brain)

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By Deepak Chopra, MD

One of the easiest bets to win is to offer a million dollars to anyone who can accurately predict their next thought.  It would be foolhardy to accept such a bet. As we all experience every day–and yet rarely notice–our thoughts are unpredictable and spontaneous. They come and go at will, and yet strangely enough, we have no model for where a thought comes from.

This lack of understanding has serious medical significance in mental disorders, for example. A common symptom of various psychoses, particularly paranoid schizophrenia, is the belief that an outside force is controlling the patient’s mind, usually through an alien voice heard in the head. Being sane, a normal person has the opposite experience, that his thoughts are his own. But if that was true, we’d call up any thought we wanted to have, the way you can call up a Google search. But this is far from true.

If you are asked to add 2+2, you can call up the necessary mental process, and there are millions of similar tasks, such as knowing your own name, how to do your job, what it takes to drive a car home from work–these give us the illusion that we control our own minds. But someone suffering from anxiety or depression is the victim of uncontrolled mental activity, and even in everyday circumstances we have flashes of emotion that come of their own accord, along with stray thoughts of every kind. Artists speak of inspiration that strikes out of the blue. Love at first sight is a very welcome example of uncontrolled mental activity.

So at the very least, the human mind can’t be explained without understanding the dual control feature that gives us total control over some thoughts and zero control over others. That challenge is hard enough, but several others are just as thorny. If I listen to rap music and love it while you listen to the same music and loathe it, what creates this difference, given the same input? This is a vexing question for any theory that attempts to put the brain in charge of the mind. The brain is supposedly a machine for thinking. But what kind of machine churns out a different response to the same input? It’s like the world’s most dysfunctional candy machine. You put in a nickel, but instead of getting a gum ball every time, the machine spits out a poem or a delusion, a new idea, or a trite cliché, a great insight or a totally wrong conspiracy theory. Continue reading

Fun, Fabulous and Single

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By Petra Kreatschman

www.petralovecoach.com

Are you that girl nobody can believe is still single… to the point it’s getting really annoying to hear that again and again?

You have a great career, wonderful friends, cool hobbies and a full life. You are fun, smart, hot, independent and accomplished, yet – no serious takers in the romantic department.

You can’t help but wonder: where here are all the great men? Taken? Busy exploring some remote wilderness or saving hungry children? Do they even exist?

You are a great catch, yet men either don’t stick around or simply can’t keep up with you. Most can’t get enough of you at first, but that quickly wears out and they disappear without a trace.

One day they’re crazy about you, the next they’re ignoring your messages.

You got used to rejection, but it still stings. It’s hard not to take it personally. Maybe you need to tone it down, hide your qualities and accomplishments, talk less?

What if men don’t want to date a woman who has it all sorted out? Are they just looking for damsels in distress? No matter how confident you are, doubt creeps in. What if there is something wrong with you? What if nobody will love you just the way you are? Continue reading

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