Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reason Seen More as Weapon Than Path to Truth

For centuries thinkers have assumed that the uniquely human capacity for reasoning has existed to let people reach beyond mere perception and reflex in the search for truth. Rationality allowed a solitary thinker to blaze a path to philosophical, moral and scientific enlightenment.

Now some researchers are suggesting that reason evolved for a completely different purpose: to win arguments. Rationality, by this yardstick (and irrationality too, but we'll get to that) is nothing more or less than a servant of the hard-wired compulsion to triumph in the debating arena. According to this view, bias, lack of logic and other supposed flaws that pollute the stream of reason are instead social adaptations that enable one group to persuade (and defeat) another. Certitude works, however sharply it may depart from the truth.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Process Mind….Connecting with the Mind of God

The quantum mind is that aspect of our psychology that corresponds to basic aspects of quantum physics. The quantum aspect of our awareness notices the tiniest, easily overlooked "nano" tendencies and self-reflects upon these subliminal experiences. However, the quantum mind is not just a supersensitive self-reflecting awareness; it also is a kind of "pilot wave" or guiding pattern. . . . Physicists speak of the wave function "collapsing" to create reality. I speak about how our self-reflection uses and then marginalizes, rather than "collapses," our dreaming nature. For example, after reflecting on a dream, you might think, "Ah ha! Now I will do this or that"; then you put the dreamworld aside temporarily while you take action in order to create a new reality.

Besides the ability we share with other parts of our universe to sense possibilities, self-reflect, and move from dreaming to everyday reality, we may have the ability to be in two places or two states at the same time, just as quantum physics suggests that material particles can behave. For example, in a dream you may be at once dead and alive – even though upon awakening, you come out of this unitive experience and soon begin reflecting, identifying with one or another of the dream images. Thus, we can characterize our quantum nature as nonlocal or "bilocal" as well as highly sensitive and self-reflective…

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What Synesthesia Suggests about the Nature of Consciousness

Not long after synesthesia made its modest, respectable appearance on the world's scientific stage, a radical shift occurred in the field of psychology, foreshadowed by Galton's interest in the psychology of the behavior of twins: the school of behaviorism emerged. Led by American psychologist John B. Watson, this new school of thought banished personal experience in favor of people's observed interactions with one another. A paper Watson wrote in 1913 started the wave, and in his 1924 book, Behaviorism, he explained it further: "Behaviorism . . . holds that the subject matter of human psychology is the behavior of the human being. Behaviorism claims that consciousness is neither a definite nor a usable concept. The behaviorist, who has been trained always as an experimentalist, holds, further, that belief in the existence of consciousness goes back to the ancient days of superstition and magic.

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Physician, Heal Thyself, And Thy Healthcare System

Physician, Heal Thyself, And Thy Healthcare System

Why Our Current Healthcare System is Woefully Inadequate

Published on May 1, 2011 by Melanie A. Greenberg, Ph.D. in The Mindful Self-Express

The Integrative Medicine Model of Healthcare

The Integrative Medicine Model of Healthcare

Many mental health disorders carry risks for physical disease.

  • Depression is a risk factor for many serious and life-threatening diseases, including heart disease, addictions, chronic pain, diabetes and obesity.
  • Illness diagnosis can result in an anxiety disorder
  • Chronic mental stress can cause muscle pain, fatigue, inflammation, and impaired immunity
  • Stress can result in impaired self-care, such as not eating, exercising, or sleepingproperly, increasing risks of disease.
  • Depressed mood can interfere with heart rate variability or the ability of the individual to put the brakes on and stop anxiety-related physiological arousal from spiraling out of control.
  • PTSD has been linked to addictions, smoking, heart disease and autoimmune diseases.

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The Seven Sins of Memory

The Seven Sins of Memory


In Yasunari Kawabata's unsettling short story, Yumiura, a novelist receives an unexpected visit from a woman who says she knew him 30 years earlier. They met when he visited the town of Yumiura during a harbor festival, the woman explains. But the novelist cannot remember her. Plagued recently by other troublesome memory lapses, he sees this latest incident as a further sign of mental decline. His discomfort turns to alarm when the woman offers more revelations about what happened on a day when he visited her room. "You asked me to marry you," she recalls wistfully. The novelist reels while contemplating the magnitude of what he had forgotten. The woman explains that she had never forgotten their time together and felt continually burdened by her memories of him.

After she finally leaves, the shaken novelist searches maps for the town of Yumiura with the hope of triggering recall of the place and the reasons why he had gone there. But no maps or books list a town called Yumiura. The novelist then realizes that he could not have been in the part of the country the woman described at the time she remembered. Her detailed, heartfelt and convincing memories were entirely false.

Seven different ways that memory can mess with your head and your life, and ways to identify them.

By Daniel Schacter

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