My recent Beyond Boundaries column for the latest issue of The Psychologist explores how the idea of the ‘mind’ as a single distinct concept is an assumption that many cultures don’t share. I’d like to talk about people who don’t have minds. This isn’t going to be one of those ingenious philosophy arguments where I claim that we’re all zombies, nor a smug assertion that we’re just a bunch of neurons, but a brief visit to people who genuinely don’t have minds – at least not as we understand them. The idea that the self can be split into body and mind is at the root of psychology, but there is no laboratory test, questionnaire or brain scan that tells us this – it is a product of our culture. In fact, we inherited the notion from the Ancient Greeks and it has stuck with us because we find it convenient (presumably, a bit like stuffed vine leaves).
This posting is in response to Dr. Steven Reiss's recent piece on motivational analysis vs. psychodynamic analysis of behavior, which I found exceedingly interesting and provocative. Interesting and provocative because he analyzes so-called sexual promiscuity, opposing his motivational view of such behavior to a psychodynamic or psychoanalytic one.
Francois Guillot / AFP/Getty Images As I write these lines, an unknown choreography organizes the firing of millions of neurons in my brain; thoughts emerge and are expressed as words, typed on my laptop by a detailed coordination of eye and hand muscles. Something is in charge, an entity we loosely call our "mind." My perception of the world around me, as modern cognitive neuroscience teaches us, is synthesized within different regions of my brain.
As the legendary philosopher John Locke once said: “New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.” What limits our desire and capacity to take in new ideas – even when we hold an intention to transform and grow? How can we shift a paradigm that we see as flawed and incomplete without understanding the barriers to changing our minds and behaviors? And how can we develop habits that allow us to explore and reveal our own biases and intolerance of ideas that refute our prevailing beliefs and opinions? These are tricky questions, but ones that are lighting up many science labs around the world.
The Tao of Twitter: The Spirit in the Machine (by Lama Surya Das) August 05, 2009 21:40 The Spirit in the Machine by Lama Surya Das ( http://twitter.com/lamasuryadas) He who stands on tiptoe doesn't stand firm. He who rushes ahead doesn't go far. He who tries to shine dims his own light....
If you want an incisive critique of modern psychiatry, look no further than an excellent article in The New York Review of Books . It brilliantly captures the fights over diagnosis and the DSM, the problem of drug companies buying influence by paying physicians, and why the promises of drug treatments are often propped up with marketing hype. The article is well-informed, doesn’t mince words, and the author is no anti-psychiatry flak. She’s Marcia Angell , ex-editor of the New England Journal of Medicine , one of the world’s leading medical journals. One of the leaders of modern psychiatry, Leon Eisenberg, a professor at Johns Hopkins and then Harvard Medical School, who was among the first to study the effects of stimulants on attention deficit disorder in children, wrote that American psychiatry in the late twentieth century moved from a state of “brainlessness” to one of “mindlessness.”
(Newser) – Good news for guys looking for a health boost: You may not have to rely on strenuous exercise (that you probably weren’t going to do anyway). Bad news: It might involve soaking in a little more culture than a ball game and a six-pack. Men who attend the ballet or frequent an art gallery are more likely to be happy and satisfied with their health, reports LiveScience . But you don’t need to wear a pair of tights to make it work: Subjects in the study out this week felt healthier after a "receptive culture" activity, like checking out a museum or a musical.
Wherever we were in the world, we Pan Am stewardesses were expected to be able to think on our feet and often had to. Spread all over the world and far away from any supervision, there was nobody to ask when a crisis arose or things went awry. We were expected to be independent thinkers, to bring order out of chaos, and to look good doing it! The challenge was to be able to pull this off without passengers feeling any discomfort -- or even having any awareness that something was amiss. It was on a night flight from JFK to Buenos Aires, early in my 20-year career, when I faced one of my biggest challenges.
I’ve always thought of competition as healthy, something to be promoted. As a kid I was ruthlessly competitive, playing every sport, every race, every insubstantial board game to win, to manically crush the other team into oblivion. As Ricky Bobby says: If you’re not first your last, right? This is the popular mentally here in America, but after seeing the move I Am by Tom Shadyac , I’m not so sure it’s the best one. In fact, I’m beginning to think it’s the demise of our entire western civilization.
May 9, 2011 — Taking on significant debt has become "normal" -- and even patriotic -- to some consumers, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research . "How did America, a country once so indelibly marked with Puritan principles of self-discipline and thrift, become a nation so awash in personal debt?" ask authors Lisa Peñaloza (École des Hautes Études Commerciales du Nord -- EDHEC) and Michelle Barnhart (Oregon State University). The researchers interviewed 27 white, middle-class Americans before the 2008 financial crisis and found that even though consumers believe that they should limit their debt, they take on debt because doing so has become normal. "As one participant put it, taking on debt is 'the American way,'" the authors write. For many participants, the disconnect between what consumers say they should do and what they actually do begins in young adulthood.
After the boom and bust, the mania and the meltdown, the Composure Class rose once again. Its members didn’t make their money through hedge-fund wizardry or by some big financial score. Theirs was a statelier ascent. They got good grades in school, established solid social connections, joined fine companies, medical practices, and law firms.
by Kirstin Butler Finding practical applications for philosophy, or what Ovid can teach us about sex. One of our favorite unattributed quotes goes as follows: “Life is a test. It is only a test.
Some tweets document history. Others make history. Others simply serve as a zeitgeist for how our culture and communication are evolving. Over the past several years, we've documented quite a few notable tweets, from the first Twitter marriage proposals to the first tweeting fetus . From the service's role in international politics to its part in devastating natural disasters , Twitter has become a huge part of how many of us communicate with one another, consume news, act as journalists and react to our own culture. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>