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Tree of Sacrifice
Eighth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, July 8th - August 4th
Eighth consonant of the Ogham alphabet - Tinne
Planet: Mars and Saturn
Symbolism: The Sword of Truth, Unconditional love, sacrifice, reincarnation
Stone: Ruby, Bloodstone
Powers: Protection, Anti-Lightning, Luck, Dream Magick
Birds: Cardinal, Starling
Deity: Lugh, Tannus, Thor
Sabbat: Lughnasa, Celtic festival of the Sun God Lugh, Lammas
Folk Names: Aquifolius, Bat's Wings, Christ's Thorn, Holy Tree, Holm Chaste, Hulm, Hulver Bush
Medicinal properties: The powdered leaves were brewed into a healing tea for measles, and the ashes from burning the leaves in a drink soothed whooping cough. Hot compresses made from the leaves and bark helped ease the pain of broken bones and dislocations.
Magickal properties: A "par excellence" protective herb, it protects against lightning, poison, and evil spirits. When thrown at wild animals it makes them lie down quietly and leave you alone. Sprinkle an infusion made with Holly on newborn babies to protect them. Holly is considered the male counterpart to the female Ivy. Even though Holly's Yule festival greens are traditionally burned at Imbolg, a small sprig us kept for luck and to keep evil away throughout the year.
CAUTION: Holly Berries are purgative and often cause nausea and vomiting.
They are poisonous to children.
Use Holly berries with your favorite spell for female fertility and sexuality:
Red Holly Berries symbolize the life-giving blood
of the Mother Goddess.
Gather three berries (or a multiple of three)
and carry them in your hand to a body of water.
As you say your incantation,
drop the berries into the water.
Visualize a circle of light surrounding you as you go through your spell.
adapted from Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes
Lammas is the ancient Celtic festival at the beginning of harvest time.
Lughnasad is the Irish name for this festival; it was a time of fairs, trading and celebration.
Now, when the days grow visibly shorter and the sun seems to decline, the crops ripen.
So too, when we work for justice, when we have expended huge energies to bring about change, the results often come only when the tides of enthusiasm and urgency seem to be ebbing.
When the marching and the shouting die away, public opinion quietly shifts.
Lammas means "loaf-mass" the festival when we honor and celebrate the grain and the food that sustains our life. In a just world, no one would go hungry.
All people would have access to good quality food - organic, fresh, local, and truly nourishing.
The grain stands golden in the fields, but has not yet been gathered in. We stand poised between hope and fear. Lammas is a time of consequence, when we reap what we have sown. Globally, we are now reaping the consequences of decades of injustice, of neglect and exploitation of the earth. Will we make the change, in time to avert disaster? Will we reap destruction, or harvest a new world based on harmony, balance and love?
Our choices and actions will tip the scales.
Starhawk 2007 and We'Moon '08
by Gillian Kemp
Like the Evergreen Holly tree, or "holy tree" you have divine talents at the root and heart of your being. Your whole world can grow "evergreen" from it. Like the berries or the smooth or prickly leaves on a male of female tree, your life will take shape around its essential nature. The thorny leaves and red berries represent suffering. When the fruits are discovered by patience, what is possibly a test now will prove a credit to you. This is a fresh start, a second chance, or time of renewal and permanence, promising a fortified heart and a happier life. Parties and reunions lie ahead, just as the Holly tree enjoys Winter while anticipating the Spring.
Holly berries were used to predict winter weather. If there were a profusion of berries, that meant it would be a hard winter, because the Goddess was providing extra berries for the birds.
Holly is one of the three timbers in the Chariot Wheel.
It represents personal sacrifice in order to gain something of greater value.
LESSON OF THE Holly
from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford
Holly reminds us of the need to calm our emotions, if we are to reach wise decisions about our situation. The often painful consequences of our actions are brought to the surface for examination, and calm acceptance of our responsibility is required. We are reminded of the need to view ourselves, as well as others, in the light of compassion and unconditional love. Like the Hanged Man of the Tarot, holly represents personal sacrifice in order to gain something of greater value.
Green Man Tree Oracle
The Holly and the Ivy
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly wears the crown.
Holly's herbal qualities calm an emotional mind and body. It can protect us from anything that is not unconditional love.
It helps those troubled with suspicion, hatred, jealousy, and revenge by opening the heart.
The Greenman essence of Holly can help with any negative emotions because it possesses a "power of peace."
Celtic Moon sign - Holly Moon
Holly wood was used by the ancients in the construction of spear shafts, and as the spiny leaves show, it is well prepared for battle. A symbol of firmness and masculine energy, the holly endows those born under its sign with an equally well-prepared nature. You have a strong connection to the earth, amazing physical strength, and the ability to direct your energy in a balanced even flow. This stability gives you a generosity of spirit ad a very matter-of-fact solidness that others will respect, admire, and rely on. Before you engage in any battle, look inside for understanding and respect for your opponents.
Written by Kim Rogers-Gallagher, and Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook 2000
Dreaming of Holly means you should be mindful of what is troubling you, and picking holly in your dreams means you will have a long life.
After midnight, on a Friday, without making a sound, gather nine Holly leaves. Wrap these up in a white cloth using nine knots to tie the ends together. Place this beneath your pillow and your dreams will come true.
|Posted on September 28, 2015 at 3:55 PM||comments (3)|
The remarkable thing about television is that it permits several million people to laugh at the same joke and still feel lonely. - T.S. Eliot
Television's role in influencing the mental and physical state of our society has been profound. Most people seem to enjoy coming home at night, and turning on the TV. Like any opiate, it's a way for many to "get away" from the stress of our day. In the short term TV seems to have a relaxing effect. Studies using functional MRI during TV viewing havedetermined that humorous television programming can activateregions of the brain called the insular cortex and amygdala, which are areas activated and needed for balanced mood (1).
Unfortunately, more long-term use of TV seems to be where the problem comes in: watching television over 2 hours per day and eating while watching television are each associated with obesity (2). In our country, 60 percent of people are obese—and this obesity is a leading cause of a lower life expectancy, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. It has been shown that each extra daily hour of television kids watch is associated with an 8 percent increase in developing depressive symptoms by young adulthood (3).
Although many people report "lack of time" as a major barrier to regular exercise, the average American adult spends over four hours per day watching television (4,5).
Analysis of over 30 years of U.S. national data shows that spending time watching television may contribute to viewers' happiness in the moment, but the longer-term effects are not good. In these studies, participants reported that on a scale from 0 (dislike) to 10 (greatly enjoy), TV-watching was nearly an 8. Despite these high marks, it seems that the enjoyment from TV was very short lasting, and gave way to discontent. What was found is that unhappy people glue themselves to the television 30 percent more than happy people. Unhappy people report watching 25 hours of television a week while happy people sit for an average of 19 hours (which is still quite an alarming number). These results held even after taking into account education, income, age and marital status. This data from nearly 30,000 adults led the authors of this study to conclude that:
"TV doesn't really seem to satisfy people over the long haul the way that social involvement or reading a newspaper does. We looked at eight to ten activities that happy people engage in, and for each one, the people who did the activities more—visiting others, going to church, all those things—were more happy. TV was the one activity that showed a negative relationship. Unhappy people did it more, and happy people did it less. The data suggest to us that the TV habit may offer short-run pleasure at the expense of long-term malaise. (6)
In short, happy people do not watch a lot of TV.
Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc practices in New York, and authored Healing Depression: Integrated Naturopathic and Conventional Therapies (link is external) He can be reached by visiting InnerSourceHealth.com (link is external).
1 - Moran, J. M., Wig, G. S., Adams, R. B., Jr., Janata, P., & Kelley, W. M., (2004). Neural correlates of humor detection and appreciation. Neuroimage, 21, 1055-1060.
2 - Kay M Johnson, MD, MPH,1,2 Karin M Nelson, MD, MSHS,1,2,3 and Katharine A Bradley, MD, MPH Television Viewing Practices and Obesity Among Women Veterans. J Gen Intern Med. 2006 March; 21(S3): S76-S81.
3 - Christakis DA, Zimmerman FJ. Violent television viewing during preschool is associated with antisocial behavior during school age. Pediatrics. 2007 Nov;120(5):993-9.
4 - Papazian E, editor. New York: Media Dynamics Inc; 2003. TV Dimensions.
5 - New York: Nielsen Media Research; 2003. Nielsen Report on Television.
6 - Robinson J. 2008 Social Indicators Research
|Posted on September 23, 2015 at 4:05 PM||comments (0)|
Dear Fellow Voters:
I've been watching all the presidential candidates with great interest—and deep concern. Concern for us. Concern for the fate of our country. Concern for our world.
As an expert on narcissism, I'm not especially worried that narcissists might make it to the White House. According to research (link is external), they've always been (link is external) there. And that shouldn't scare us anyway, because just to be clear: being a narcissist is not a diagnosis (link is external). It never has been. Narcissists are people higher in narcissistic traits than the average person, and while they may or may not be disordered, they all share one thing in common: They feel special (link is external). Some feel special enough to lead a nation, in fact.
So what we should be far more concerned about is not whether or not politicians are narcissists—most are (link is external)—but how healthy (link is external) they are. And that's where you come in. You have the power to shape the future of this country.
Politicians are groomed by us—by our applause, by our polls, by our votes. Whatever you seem to love or hate, they'll embrace or reject. So be careful what you applaud or attack. It matters what they—and all the little future leaders watching them—think you want in a leader.
That's why this isn't another rant about Donald Trump being a narcissist because:
a) Did you really need an expert to tell you that?
and b) We don't need another article or book about obvious narcissists, because apparently we're pretty good at recognizing (link is external) them already.
Instead, I offer a guide, based on research, for what keeps leaders healthy, so you can applaud the right behaviors, and I hope punish the dangerous ones.
People high in healthy narcissism (link is external) inspire without undermining; they lead with conviction not cruelty; they bring out the best (link is external), not the worst in people around them. That's who we need leading the nation.
So here are some dos and don'ts:
Do applaud careful reflection. Please, for everyone's sake, stop making politicians worried, on either side, that changing their minds when they have new information will be viewed as a weakness. Ditch the reflexive and empty attacks on people for "flip-flopping." When someone gives careful reasoning behind changing their position, it's not weakness; it's strength. It's called thinking. Weakness is barreling into a brick wall because that's the direction you first chose to head in—and, dammit, you stay the course. Want to know who worries most about seeming infallible at all costs? Extreme (unhealthy (link is external)) narcissists.
Don't applaud insults. Here's a dead giveaway that extreme narcissists use to cover their insecurities: Putdowns (link is external). Like the schoolyard bully who beats people up to feel stronger, extreme narcissists hurl insults when they feel threatened; they name call, insult, denigrate. It's not clever and it's not mature. Therapists have a name for it: Emotional abuse (link is external). It doesn't belong on the playground, and it certainly doesn't belong in the White House
Do applaud feelings. The world's going down in flames for sure if we choose unflappably stoic—read, insensitive—leaders who never seem to shed a tear or get choked up over anything. Who never seem openly moved by the plight of victims. Who disparage crossing party lines to offer or accept a hug in times of crisis that can, and should, bring the nation together. Extreme narcissists are emotion-phobes because they don't trust (link is external) people to support them (a problem called insecure attachment (link is external)). So they rarely show sadness, fear, loneliness, worry, shame, or guilt. They just get angry or attack or become, you know, stoic. We don't need someone who collapses in tears constantly but, if you want good leaders, be aware that emotion is a basic job requirement.
Don't applaud manipulation. Disordered narcissists betray three telltale signs: empathy-impairment, entitlement, and exploitation (link is external). If someone openly brags about paying others to do their bidding, they don't view people as fellow human beings, but chess pieces. And it's only a matter of time before you become the sacrificial pawn. Blatant manipulation isn't a guarantee that someone has narcissistic personality disorder (link is external), the most extreme form of unhealthy narcissism, but it sure is a terrible sign.
Do applaud collaborative behavior. Extreme narcissists don't like to be influenced because it makes them feel weak. It's the same reason they flee any hint of vulnerable feelings. They don't trust that anyone will be there for them. So instead of working with others, they get combative (link is external), argumentative, and shout people down. They talk when they should listen. They're so invested in seeming perfectly self-sufficient that they dread listening to anyone else, which is another giveaway of extreme narcissism. It's only a matter of time before they grow deaf to what we, as a nation, are feeling.
Don't applaud black and white thinking. We need leaders who can see the nuance in situations, who don't collapse the world into simple categories. In mental health, black and white thinking is known as a "cognitive distortion," (link is external) not a great habit in a leader. Extreme narcissists love to divide the world (link is external) this way because they never have to feel vulnerable. They can flee or attack anyone who makes them feel unsure of their special status as "enemies" and cozy up to everyone else who bows to their will as "friends." Be very careful that you don't punish leaders for seeing the gray around them. People who think this way eventually draw up a list of enemies; and one day, you may find yourself on it.
Do applaud apologies. We all make mistakes. But extreme narcissists are so addicted to feeling special, often by seeming perfect, that they can't admit (link is external) to even the simplest errors, let alone apologize for hurting others. Thanks to us, many politicians have gotten it into their heads that somehow, saying they're sorry or acknowledging their mis-steps makes them appear weak—unless they're forced by impeachment. Hence the deplorable habit of making excuses for the most egregious behaviors. What keeps people from slipping into disorder is the capacity to repair relationships, whether the bond is with their partners or a nation. Put someone in office who can do that, please. Cheer for the candidate who can say "I'm sorry" without the pressure of a court order.
Don't applaud evasiveness. Shallow, vague, glib responses are something extreme narcissists excel at, especially the extroverted (link is external) types who seek power. Their speeches are all "show" with no substance; bluster without the details to back it up. No matter how confident the speaker, this kind of leadership isn't going to help anyone, except perhaps the narcissist. The devil is in the details, or in this case, the devil is in the lack of details.
Do applaud curiosity. Smart leaders, and I've met a few, actively explore. They ask good questions. They don't always have answers and they let you know that. Their strength lies in their conviction that they'll solve a problem, not the certainty that they already have. They keep investigating the world if they're not sure where Russia is on the map. Beware the leader who's more invested in appearing to have all the answers than asking the right questions. It's a sure sign that someone's more concerned with feeling special than helping you.
It's up to you, America.
Narcissists will always be drawn to politics. But you have the power to make sure the narcissist in the Oval Office, as well as in any elected official in the country, isn't so addicted to feeling special that they forget the needs of the people who put them there in the first place.
P.S. Don't forget to vote!
Dr. Craig Malkin
|Posted on September 17, 2015 at 3:25 PM||comments (0)|
Douglas Van Praet
Contagious ad memes will spread unless you become aware of what drives them.
Earlier this month a Connecticut middle school banned students from blurting out the catchphrase for a Geico commercial in the hallways. Not surprisingly these transgressions would spike on Wednesdays also known as “Hump Day.” Eleven year olds incessantly remind each other “What day is it?” to a cacophony of “Hump Daaaaaay!…Yeah!” and a chorus of “Woot!” “Woot!”
Geico spends nearly a billion dollars a year in marketing, a strategy that has produced profound sales growth. Recently the company passed Allstate to become the nation’s second largest seller of car insurance. The brand has a history of delighting audiences with entertaining stories with characters that include cavemen, a gecko, and Maxwell the pig. But why has this one, a seemingly absurd concept of a camel annoying his colleagues, risen to the top to become the most shared ad of this summer and perhaps all year?
The answer lies in the base of our brain and the origins of our evolution. The human brain is the only organ in the body that exists in evolutionary layers. We often falsely convince ourselves that the most recent Neocortex, or “thinking brain,” is running the show because it is the part of our mind that talks to ourselves. However it is the deeper “feeling brains”: our “limbic/emotional system” and the “physical (instinctual) brain” at the bottom that often commandeer our bodies into action without our own awareness.
In his highly influential, revolutionary book The Selfish Gene, British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme”—a unit of cultural information that is transmitted from mind to mind through imitation and replication in a manner analogous to the spread of genes. Memes replicate like viruses and include tunes, slogans, catchphrases, fashions, styles, and rituals.
Our brain is quite literally a “survival organ” and most of the memes in our culture reflect the deepest, instinctual drives of our reptilian legacy, or what I have coined the Six S’s— survival, safety, security, sustenance, sex, and status. These themes are so often at the roots of many of the most prolific memes because they are both completely unconscious in origin and utterly important to our own survival. Messages reflecting these six S’s, unwittingly force our attention, which is also why we crane our neck to check out the horrible accident along the highway despite our own protests.
So the real reason “hump day” is a viral hit is simple. While the execution and casting of Caleb the camel is perfect, what’s really driving the viral nature is that the ad is constructed around a metaphor for having sex. Implicit metaphors intimating our deepest strivings bypass critical thinking and strike at the heart and gut, the part that moves people unknowingly to action. I don’t believe the ad was designed with this mind. Great creators intuitively develop a feeling for what works often without their own conscious awareness. And there are a ton of examples of this in action.
Not convinced of the power of advertising memes based upon sexual innuendo? In 1956 Shirley Polycoff, the lone woman writer at ad giant Foote Cone and Belding, penned the titillating ad slogan, “Does she . . . or doesn’t she?” a campaign for Clairol that would forever shift the fashion sensibilities of American women. Almost overnight the slogan would become a national catchphrase, helping to transform hair coloring from an exotic, low-class aberrance to a social norm. The incidence of hair coloring skyrocketed from 7 percent to about half of all American women within a decade!
And more recently Nike’s brilliant and deservingly lauded “Just Do It” campaign transformed culture and the brand as sales increased from $877 million in worldwide sales to $9.2 billion in ten years. The artfully vague slogan reportedly inspired people to not only buy their shoes and become better athletes but also to rescue someone from a burning building or leave an abusive spouse, etc.
But before the campaign launched, the expression “do it” already existed as a pervasive meme and euphemism for “having sex.” In 1968 the Beatles released the song, “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” McCartney reportedly wrote the song after he saw two monkeys copulating on the streets of India. By 2008 a book was published called Just Do It, which chronicled the trials and tribulations of a man and his wife seeking to have intercourse for 101 consecutive days. The decision to bootstrap their brand expression on a preexisting meme for sexual reproduction was a smart move that I believe was also made intuitively and not through conscious design. But it helped to put the brand at the pinnacle of marketing and at the height of public consciousness. And if you were to ask any consumer in focus groups why they purchased Nike shoes they would never admit to this influence because they simply don’t know. The idea alone seems absurd, but advertising has very little to do with rationality.
There’s also no coincidence that arguably the two most pervasive marketing memes of all time (that went viral without the Internet) piggybacked on one of our most basic survival needs: having enough to eat. Both of these memes cautioned and queried people about the scarcity of basic food staples through their simple slogans. I am referring to Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” and the California Milk Processor Board’s “Got milk?”—Two advertising taglines identical in structure and similarly potent in effect.
These memes didn’t imply sex, but rather all of the remaining five of my Six S’s— survival, safety, security, sustenance, and status. How does status fit into the mix? For over 99% of human evolution it was access to food such as meat that conferred status in hunter-gatherer societies, not access to money. This explains why so many people mindlessly post pictures of their meals on Facebook to their digital tribes.
In the 1980s the catchphrase “Where’s the beef?” quickly found its way into the breadth and depth of American culture, capturing the mood of the time. The slogan showed up everywhere from water cooler conversations to presidential debates, making the diminutive octogenarian Clara Peller, who was featured in the ad, a national icon. The ubiquitous presence of that slogan and its influence in advertising was perhaps surpassed only by another campaign for yet another basic food source with an uncannily similar inquiry, “Got milk?” This catchphrase began in the early 1990s and remains an active meme and international icon, becoming what few would argue is the most imitated and parodied slogan in American advertising history.
Still not convinced? In the 1980s, Americans discovered that the availability of food, even if it is simply a condiment, especially when coupled with a message of economic status, is able to drive a brand to widespread awareness and cultural interest. The campaign generated national attention when two British chauffeur-driven aristocrats politely shared a jar of the fancy mustard, punctuated by the phrase “Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?” Again, the structure is identical—scarcity of food.
And more recently marketers for the movie the Hunger Games discovered that the most popular form of social media for their campaign was the meme: “We Found Bread in a Toastless Place.” If you believe that Rihanna’s hit song “We Found Love (in a Hopeless Place)” was causing it to go viral, you’d be missing the foundation on which it was built.
Like selfish genes whose sole purpose is replication, memes appear also to be guided by their own viral intentions, evolving organically through clever and not-so-clever mutations. Recently I pulled up to my local chicken rotisserie restaurant only to discover a giant sign on the plate glass window boldly pronouncing: “Got Chicken?”
Under the obsessive inclinations of our physical brains, these memes perpetuate effortlessly without regard for rationality. As Dawkins puts it, we humans are merely “lumbering robots” programmed in service of the replication of our selfish genes, or in this instance, our selfish memes.
For more information about why you really buy and do stuff, check out my book Unconscious Branding or follow me on twitter.
Douglas Van Praet is the author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing and applies unconscious behaviorism, neurobiology, and evolutionary psychology to business.
|Posted on September 17, 2015 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
Porn is not addictive. Sex is not addictive. The ideas of porn and sex addiction are pop psychology concepts that seem to make sense, but have no legitimate scientific basis. For decades, these concepts have flourished in America, but have consistently been rejected by medicine and mental health. The media and American society have accepted that sex and porn are addictive, because it seems intuitively true - we all feel like sometimes, we might do something stupid or self-destructive, when sex is involved. But, this false belief is dangerous, and ultimately not helpful. Because when people buy into the belief that porn is addictive, it changes the argument, and all of a sudden, it seems like it is porn and sex that are the problems. Porn addiction becomes a label, and seems to be an explanation, when in fact, it is just meaningless words and platitudes that distract from the real issue. But sex and porn aren’t the problems. You are.
People do have a strong response to video pornography. Internet porn is very good at triggering male sexuality. The economic forces of the open market have driven modern internet porn to be very, very effective at triggering male sexual buttons, to get them aroused. But women actually have a stronger physiological response to porn than men and based upon this research, women should be more addicted to pornography than men. But the overwhelming majority of the stories we hear about are men. Why is this? Because one part of this issue is an attack on aspects of male sexuality, including masturbation and use of pornography, behaviors which society fears and doesn’t understand.
Porn can affect people, but it does not take them over or override their values. If someone watches porn showing something they find distasteful, it has no impact on their behavior or desires. But, if someone watches porn depicting acts that they, the watcher, are neutral about, then it does make it slightly more likely that they express interest in trying that act themselves. Take anal sex for instance. If a porn viewer finds it disgusting, watching anal pornography isn't going to change that. But, if they are neutral on it, then watching anal porn probably will slightly increase the chance that I would be willing to at least give it a try. But, there is the crux of the issue—the people who gravitate towards unhealthy, violent porn, are people who already have a disposition towards violence. So—the problem is not in the porn, but in those people. Regulating porn access really is going to have no impact on these people as they can (and do) find far more violent and graphic images in mainstream Hollywood films like "Saw."
Here’s some often-ignored empirical science about porn – as societies have increased their access to porn, rates of sex crimes, including exhibitionism, rape and child abuse, have gone down. (See the work of Milton Diamond (link is external)) Across the world, and in America, as men have increased ability to view Internet erotica, sex crimes go down. Believe it or not - porn is good for society. This is correlational data, but it is extremely robust, repeated research. But, it is not a message that many people want to hear. Individuals may not like porn, but our society loves it, and benefits from it.
You are the problem, But, you're also the solution.
It is getting increasingly difficult to find men in our society, who’ve never viewed pornography. But, if porn were the problem – if porn were addictive, then the problems of porn would be far, far greater than they are. In fact, in recent studies (link is external), fewer than 1% of people report that they have had problems in their life due to difficulties controlling their sexual behaviors, including watching porn. Now - higher numbers, around 10%, report "feeling" that their sexual desires are hard to control, but it is very different to feel something, versus ACTUALLY being out of control.
So – if you are one of that 1%, then what’s going on? If it isn’t the porn, then it must be you. Something about you (more than one thing, usually) has led you to be a person who makes bad decisions about sex. Now in that, you’re not alone – it is in fact a universal truth that people tend to make poorer decisions when they’re turned on, whether it’s choosing not to wear a condom, or choosing to masturbate to porn when you shouldn’t. Call it “sex-goggles,” and recognize that human sexual arousal affects our decision-making.
But, there’s more than that going on for you, if you’ve decided that porn is your problem. Here’s some more real science, that suggests some of the things that are going on for you – you like sex. Wow – earth-shattering, right? But several empirical studies (here's a link (link is external) to one of several) have found that self-identified porn addicts tend to be people with high libido. You are also a person who can get turned on very quickly (when you choose to). Further, you might have grown up in a home (or culture) where sex and masturbation were seen as morally wrong.
Having a high-libido is not a bad thing. In fact, one of the things I often argue is that men (and women) who like sex have changed this world, and made it better. Rock stars, politicians, military leaders and sports stars often tend to be people with high libidos, and a high desire to succeed. Sometimes, they actually want to succeed, just so they can have lots of sex.
But, if you are a man who likes sex, and likes porn, is that something you’ve ever really owned? I’m sad to say that our society has not taught men how to identify and negotiate their sexual desires or needs. We treat sex like a dirty secret. Then, when men get caught, they feed into that dirty secret mentality, and treat sex like it’s the problem.
Those other men, who like sex, watch porn, and don’t get in trouble - How do they do that? One thing is that they understand themselves, and their desires. Sometimes, they sit down with their wives and girlfriends and have a real, open discussion about their use of porn, their interest in it, and what it means, and doesn’t mean, about their attraction to and interest in their partner. That’s a hard, scary discussion (and not one for the first date, please), because it requires a man to stand up for himself and his sexual desires, to be willing to negotiate for those needs, to be willing to compromise, but stay true to himself, while asking for the same in return.
Another thing about those guys, who don’t get in trouble for watching porn? They are paying attention to themselves, and they are doing the work that is needed to make good decisions. Some men have the internet or cable turned off in their hotel rooms, or install a net nanny on their own computer, so they have less temptation. That’s not because porn is the problem, but because these men are recognizing (when they’re not turned on), that they need to do the prepwork, in advance, to make good decisions. It’s okay to admit that you make poor decisions when sex or porn are involved – you’re not alone in that, and it’s not a sin.
But, the responsibility is on you to identify why and how you make bad decisions, and take steps to make better decisions in the future. When you blame the problems on porn, you’re telling yourself “porn is more powerful than I am.” And I’m here to tell you, that’s not true – you CAN take responsibility for your life, your sex, for your good decisions and your bad ones, and have the life you want. Porn's not the problem - you are. But you know what? You're also the solution.
David J. Ley, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and author of Insatiable Wives, Women Who Stray and The Men Who Love Them, available from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
|Posted on September 16, 2015 at 10:10 AM||comments (0)|
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Prolonged TV viewing is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis.
JAMA. 2011 Jun 15;305(23):2448-55. PMID: 21673296
Anders Grøntved, Frank B Hu
Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Department of Exercise Epidemiology, Center of Research in Childhood Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense.
CONTEXT: Prolonged television (TV) viewing is the most prevalent and pervasive sedentary behavior in industrialized countries and has been associated with morbidity and mortality. However, a systematic and quantitative assessment of published studies is not available.
OBJECTIVE: To perform a meta-analysis of all prospective cohort studies to determine the association between TV viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.
DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SELECTION: Relevant studies were identified by searches of the MEDLINE database from 1970 to March 2011 and the EMBASE database from 1974 to March 2011 without restrictions and by reviewing reference lists from retrieved articles. Cohort studies that reported relative risk estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations of interest were included.
DATA EXTRACTION: Data were extracted independently by each author and summary estimates of association were obtained using a random-effects model.
DATA SYNTHESIS: Of the 8 studies included, 4 reported results on type 2 diabetes (175,938 individuals; 6428 incident cases during 1.1 million person-years of follow-up), 4 reported on fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease (34,253 individuals; 1052 incident cases), and 3 reported on all-cause mortality (26,509 individuals; 1879 deaths during 202,353 person-years of follow-up). The pooled relative risks per 2 hours of TV viewing per day were 1.20 (95% CI, 1.14-1.27) for type 2 diabetes, 1.15 (95% CI, 1.06-1.23) for fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease, and 1.13 (95% CI, 1.07-1.18) for all-cause mortality. While the associations between time spent viewing TV and risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease were linear, the risk of all-cause mortality appeared to increase with TV viewing duration of greater than 3 hours per day. The estimated absolute risk differences per every 2 hours of TV viewing per day were 176 cases of type 2 diabetes per 100,000 individuals per year, 38 cases of fatal cardiovascular disease per 100,000 individuals per year, and 104 deaths for all-cause mortality per 100,000 individuals per year.
CONCLUSION: Prolonged TV viewing was associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.
Article Published Date : Jun 15, 2011
Study Type : Meta Analysis
Diseases : Cardiovascular Diseases : CK(5898) : AC(665), Diabetes Mellitus: Type 2 : CK(4292) : AC(359), Mortality: All-Cause : CK(663) : AC(58)
Anti Therapeutic Actions : Television Viewing : CK(60) : AC(4)
|Posted on September 16, 2015 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
Are you suffering from low Vitamin M? Here are some of the symptoms:
weak social or community health
Are you suffering from a deficiency of Music?
Music has been demonstrated to have benefits as treatment for illness. Sometimes it is dismissed as if it were 'anecdotal evidence'. In truth, music is a healthicine. Anecdotal evidence is one of the most uninformed and mis-used phrases by the commercial medical interests - but that should be the subject of another blog post.
A GreenMedInfo search for medical benefits of music therapy shows a wide variety of situations where music is beneficial. I believe it is beneficial because it increases healthiness - as opposed to 'treating disease'. A subtle but important distinction not typically studied by medical researchers.
Music activates healthy minds, lifts healthy spirits, and builds healthy communities.
Music on the SidewalkBut be careful of synthetic alternatives. Synthetic music - the worst is elevator music, can actually make you feel bad, and in extended periods can feel like become torture.
The most organic music, is music you create. But, the healthiest music is not music you create yourself, it's music you create in a community. Even if you are only helping put out chairs in the community hall, and tapping your toe to the 'real musicians', your participation is enhancing your health, and the health of your communities.
Listening to music on your iPod, or a CD, can be healthy, healthier if it activates you to movement. It might lift your spirits, but it does little for your community. Music in isolation is limited in health benefits and can lead to more isolation from your community, resulting in poor community and spiritual health.
Listening to the radio can be pure commercial poison - or, if you have a good community radio station that is more interested in music than in 'sales' - it can be a health benefit. My favorite radio station, the best radio station in the known and unknown universes - is CKUA.
CKUA is all about the music, which ranges - sometimes from moment to moment - from the musician who lives down my street, to blues from the south, jazz from northern Europe, drums from Africa or Japan. There is no world music - they say, just music. The announcers at my radio station choose what they want to play - it's not commercial music.
Kill your television. Or turn off the sound. Vitamin M on your television can be toxic. Pretending to be real music, but not involving you. Television plays on your emotions, not on your musicality. Television is designed for passive watchers - not active participants. Not as bad if it's seen but not heard................ http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/are-you-deficient-vitamin-m
Tracy Kolenchuk, Founder: Personal Health Freedom; Healthicine
|Posted on September 16, 2015 at 9:35 AM||comments (0)|
Influence of physical activity and screen time on the retinal microvasculature in young children.
Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2011 May;31(5):1233-9. PMID: 21508347
Bamini Gopinath, Louise A Baur, Jie Jin Wang, Louise L Hardy, Erdahl Teber, Annette Kifley, Tien Y Wong, Paul Mitchell
Centre for Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital, Hawkesbury Rd, Westmead, New South Wales 2145, Australia.
OBJECTIVE: It is not clear whether physical activity and sedentary behavior affect retinal microvascular caliber. We investigated associations among physical activity (outdoor and indoor sporting activities), sedentary behaviors (including screen time, television [TV] viewing, and computer and videogame usage), and retinal microvascular caliber in schoolchildren.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Six-year-old students (1765/2238) from a random cluster sample of 34 Sydney schools were examined. Parents completed questionnaires about physical and sedentary activities. Retinal images were taken, and retinal vessel caliber was quantified. After adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, eye color, axial length, body mass index, birth weight, and mean arterial blood pressure, children who spent more time in outdoor sporting activities (in the highest tertile of activity) had 2.2μm (95% CI 0.65 to 3.71) wider mean retinal arteriolar caliber than those in the lowest tertile (Ptrend=0.004). Increasing quartiles of time spent watching TV were associated with narrower mean retinal arteriolar caliber≈2.3 μm (95% CI 0.73 to 3.92), Ptrend=0.003.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that physical activity could have a beneficial influence, whereas screen time has a potential adverse influence on retinal microvascular structure. The magnitude of arteriolar narrowing associated with each hour daily of TV viewing is similar to that associated with a 10-mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure in children.
Article Published Date : May 01, 2011
Study Type : Human Study
Diseases : Eye Diseases : CK(693) : AC(139), Retinal Diseases : CK(32) : AC(10)
Therapeutic Actions : Exercise : CK(553) : AC(77)
Anti Therapeutic Actions : Television Viewing : CK(60) : AC(4)
|Posted on September 14, 2015 at 7:10 PM||comments (0)|
With the recent release of the movie, 50 Shade of Grey, we as a culture have again revisited important issues about sexual matters that often don’t get talked about or clarified to the extent that we learn lessons that will actually improve our relationships. So, I am going to use this opportunity to talk about how pornography affects the emotional intimacy in romantic relationships. I’ll start with a question someone asked me recently.
I recently found out that my husband has been secretly viewing pornography online for years without me knowing. I feel very hurt by this discovery and disgusted by the thought of what he’s looking at. I told him this and he doesn’t see it as a big deal. He says “all guys use porn.” I need a reality check. Is pornography that prevalent with men? And what should I do with these feelings?
This is a very important question and one that many couples struggle with. First, it is correct in saying that many men turn to pornography on a regular basis. It is estimated that 40 million Americans regularly visit porn sites on the internet. But, it isn’t just men. About one-third of those regular visitors are women. But those who claim that porn is not a “big deal” are wrong. It is a very big deal because of how it erodes the physical and emotional intimacy in real relationships.
Here are some things to consider:
Healthy relationships are built on trust. To be intimate with someone is to make yourself vulnerable. Trust is the assurance that your partner will respect that vulnerability and honor you. If your partner is secretly inviting others (complete strangers no less) into the exclusive realm that should be reserved between the two of you, it breaks that trust and feelings of violation usually follow. Broken trust takes time and a lot of work to heal.
The key to a strong, long-lasting relationship is the couple’s ability to build emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy, not sexual intimacy, is what makes a relationship most meaningful. Of course if you take your cues from the porn sites or even from the relentless messages streaming through the media, you might think that sex is the prime binding agent in relationships. Despite the fact that this myth is pervasive in our sex-obsessed culture, it is the emotional intimacy that makes a person feel valued, cherished, loved, cared for, listened to and appreciated. When emotional intimacy is kindled between two people, satisfaction with their sexual union is far greater. There is no need to go outside of that relationship for other types of sexual stimulation or entertainment.
Pornography creates unrealistic expectations about your spouse and sexual behavior. Pornography has been shown to weaken commitment in marriages because it creates an utterly false impression of what a normal body looks like and what sexual behavior is really about. The sexual relationship is meant to be mutually satisfying expression of each partner’s love for the other. In contrast, porn is about self-gratification and often involves dominating or mistreating the other person.
I have found that people most prone to use pornography are those who have love deficits that occurred earlier in their lives. They have often come from homes where love and affection were scarce. We all are eventually exposed to porn at some point but those with love deficits seem more drawn to it as a substitute for the real relationships that weren’t as nurturing as they needed. If the person repeatedly returns to porn to get that excitement, it can become a compulsive behavior that may turn into an addiction over time. Don’t give up the fight to get these strangers out of your bedroom and your imagination. Your marriage may depend on it.
|Posted on September 14, 2015 at 7:20 AM||comments (0)|
You think you are in control. “You”—your sense of self—your highly developed, amazingly capable, conscious mind housed in the big wrinkly hemispheric thing that we most often associate with the brain: the neocortex—is not really in control as much as it thinks. It’s just easier for all of us to carry on with this delusion.
Your brain is not really in control as much as it thinks.
We all like to think of ourselves as in control of our decisions and behavior. We believe that we think and then act … in that order. Sometimes we actually do behave this way. But most of the time we in fact make a decision unconsciously, and then we either build a conscious argument to support that decision or we just act on the decision without even being aware of what’s happening.
Recent brain science has uncovered a number of tremendously interesting things that have profound implications for branding and marketing practice. These discoveries do not nullify the “art” of marketing, but they do remind us of the importance of the science.
“The causal role of conscious thought has been vastly overrated, and what we are in fact is not rational creatures, but rationalizing creatures.”
Ignore this at your peril.
Cake or Fruit
Stanford Professor Baba Shiv devised an elegant test that illustrates how weak our control of decision actually is. He had people choose between an unhealthy but appealing snack (chocolate cake) and a healthy but less attractive snack (fruit salad) while trying to remember either a short or long sequence of numbers. Those with the easier task of remembering one or two numbers chose cake 42% of the time. Those trying to hold a longer sequence of numbers in their heads chose cake 63% of the time (published study here). People’s basic desire for fats and sugars trumps the rational override with only the mildest of mental interference.
Those with the easier task of remembering one or two numbers chose cake 42% of the time. Those trying to hold a longer sequence of numbers in their heads chose cake 63% of the time.
This appears to show that the rational decision-making process is so fragile that it only holds sway under near ideal circumstances. Our lives are almost never near ideal. So what’s actually happening here? Another decision-making system—what one might call our emotional unconscious—is doing a lot of the driving.
Cup o’ Joe Test
There is another intriguing experiment conducted by Lawrence Williams of the University of Colorado. Let’s call it the “cup o’ joe test.” Subjects are unobtrusively handed a cup of coffee prior to being asked to write down their thoughts about a man, “Joe,” whose photograph they are shown. There are two test groups—one in which they are handed and briefly hold a warm cup of coffee, and another where they’re handed iced coffee instead. Invariably what happens in this experiment is that the subjects who hold the warm cup of coffee have a more positive view of Joe and those who hold the cold cup, a more negative one. The photograph is the same, everything else is the same. Only the temperature of the coffee is different.
The subjects who hold the warm cup of coffee have a more positive view of Joe and those who hold the cold cup, a more negative one.
You have probably heard of the reptilian brain. This suggests to me that the reptilian brain is reacting to the physical sensation of the warm cup of coffee and deciding on the basis of that, whether this warmth is a good indicator for Joe. The limbic brain—the emotional center—then puts in its two cents: “Warm is good. I want to be around people who are warm. They can be trusted more than people who are cold.” The lingual/rational brain, the neocortex, is left now to quickly fill in the answers as to why, and is able to rationalize the decision that has essentially already been made about Joe by the other unconscious parts of the brain. The rationalizing brain makes up whatever good reasons it can think of to like Joe of the warm cup o’ joe, and dislike or distrust Joe of the cold cup o’ joe.
brain science cup o' joe
Brain Science and Marketing
This fascinating, and perhaps even a bit hard to believe, bit of brain science is incredibly relevant for marketing as well as branding. These findings and others like them influence and inform our strategic marketing and branding work. It’s critical that our clients understand the role of the emotional unconscious in their audience’s decision-making process. It is also important that they devote some time and attention to the effects of this whole unconscious decision-making ecosystem as it pertains to their products and services. It underscores the centrality of the fundamental consumer question: “Why should I care?”
The reptilian brain first wants to know if the thing is threatening or desirable and ascertains this from what it can see, smell, taste and touch, not what it can deduct by rational means.
At the risk of oversimplification, let me make some observations here. The reptilian brain’s response to visual and other sensory stimuli—like the warmth of the cup o’ joe—suggests why body language, color, facial expressions, smell, music and all sorts of other seemingly non-critical factors and clearly non-rational factors contribute so significantly to the effectiveness of a brand or a marketing campaign.
The reptilian brain first wants to know if the thing is threatening or desirable (edible, sexually attractive). It ascertains this from what it can see, smell, taste and touch, not what it can deduct by rational means. All these evaluations occur without recourse to the rational mind.
The limbic brain then responds emotionally and asks, “Is this my friend? Can I put my trust here?”
The limbic brain then responds emotionally and asks, “Is this my friend? Can I put my trust here?” This is the essential brand level stuff that generates loyalty, as discussed in The Difference Between Marketing and Branding.
Finally, when most of this is sorted out, the rational brain creates a story to make sense of it all. How memorable that story will be is also set within the limbic system, by the amygdala, where the emotional impact of an experience determines its memorability.
Brain Science and Branding
Brands can be thought of as a kind of symbolic shorthand that the irrational unconscious brain uses to facilitate its decisions. This is why Coke tastes better if you know it’s Coke (read about the study), and why your marketing efforts can either make your brand stronger or not, depending on what’s actually being communicated in each and every brand encounter, but more importantly, depending on what emotional factors you are able to bring into play. The amygdala, it seems, gets to decide what you remember and what you do not, and it makes this determination based on the emotional impact of the experience.
As I have often said, your brand lives in your consumer’s mind. The power of your brand, it appears, is actually determined by its ability to activate the amygdala. What gets logged is not determined by how beautiful your logo or how snappy your tagline is, but by how much these things inspire me to care.
The power of your brand, it appears, is actually determined by its ability to activate the amygdala.
In the process of a continual series of brand encounters, how well are you able to communicate with the emotional unconscious? This process operates in your consumer’s brains separate from and in advance of any system of language. This is why design—the physical and aesthetic presentation of a brand—is so important to marketing. It’s also why experience—what I refer to as the lived experience of a brand—is absolutely fundamental. Only after these essential tests have been passed by the brand can it begin to really tell its story in words, and literally make its indelible mark on the brain.
If that story is clear and true, and able to rationalize the affinity already understood by the emotional unconscious (the reptilian and limbic brains), well, that’s brand magic.
|Posted on September 14, 2015 at 6:05 AM||comments (0)|
Right and left side of the brain
Right side of the brain is the one connected with higher awareness, wide, infinite, conscious reality we are all a part of. Right side of the brain is our creativity, because in the infinite wideness of the world there are infinite possibilities, infinite knowledge, infinite wisdom and infinite diversity of perception. Right side of the brain, which is the side that connects us with that kind of reality, gives us our creativity.
Left side of the brain which is equally important for life in this reality connects us to this world. It is a side of structure, language and everything that we see in society, side of intellect, education, politics, science and medicine. This is all connected with the left side. Since the left side of the brain connects us with this world that is mostly based on separation, making things apart, like this space separating you and me. Although it is not an empty space but vibrating energy outside the visible light span, left side of the brain perceives everything as separate. When we look in medicine, science, education or politics, in all of them world is observed partially, and not as a whole.
Right side of the brain sees and experiences the unity of everything. Ideal is what we call "whole brain people". Both sides are active and they are communicating through the bridge that connects them. In this way you can simultaneously be inspired and creative and acknowledge that we are all a part of one big consciousness, infinite consciousness, which is everything. You can shape it all in a way that enables you to function in this reality. If there is an imbalance in the functioning of the two brain parts, that imbalance is clearly shown, usually in one of two ways. A person that has strong stimulant in the right side of the brain, but not so in the left, is a very creative person that, you can say, lives in a "realm of elves". Those are very creative people that don't know how to live in this world, because that left side doesn't connect them strong enough with the real world. There are little of those in our society. Imbalance that is dominant in the world today is the dominance of the left side of the brain. If your sense of reality is controlled by the left side of the brain, you observe the world as separate parts. As a variety of separateness, stream of structures, but you're not in a position to notice the unity and connection in a part of whole that we all are a part of.
When we look at how the education system works and how we are encouraged to try to enter the structures of power and influence that dictate our temper and goals of human society, we'll see that from our earliest age we are encouraged to use our left side of the brain, while the right side is isolated. For example, to progress inside the system you must first pass the stream of exams from school to college. What is required to pass such an exam? It is required to fill up the left side with terms that are familiar to it: language, structure, separateness and apartness, to keep it all up in the left side of the brain so that you can, when you approach the exam, put it all on a piece of paper. If you are skilled to do that you'll pass the test with a good grade. Which means you can move on. Say to college. And when you pass all the exams there, you'll get a diploma with which you can move to the next level, in that other part of society in which you want to specialize, whether it is civil service or politics, media, science, medicine or something else. Since it is necessary to pass whole bunch of such exams to even get in a position for such an institution, we can conclude that the ones that are in them now are persons with already too stimulated left side of the brain with the disadvantage of the right. Those are the people governing the institutions of society, defining what is necessary for it and guiding it.
That's why we live in a society which is almost exclusively dominated by the left side of the brain that experiences everything as separate and apart, what comes conveniently when you need to encourage separations, conflicts and wars. It understands only what is structured, because it cannot perceive that the world could exist without endless rules and structures. In addition to that, left side of the brain understands only that and has no perception of the right side of the brain that sees life completely differently. Left side of the brain is more stimulated to become the dominant side of the brain, not only with the people that have successfully passed all the exams and gotten to places where they have power and control over the masses. This is also the case with many other people that may have not successfully pass tests and exams, of which there are many, because in time they went to school that just didn't interest them.
Let's return to the minority again, the core which operates behind the scene and which is manipulating mankind via mass control. They are the one that understand that system very well. For example, at the beginning of 2009 in Great Britain, the government announced that they will introduce 500 educational goals for preschool age. Even the pedagogues that don't know about the connection between the two parts of the brain and control raised their voice and asked: "So, when will that children play?" That is the main idea, to leave as less as possible time to play. Because what is playing? It is improvisation and imagination encouragement. It has no structure. The child simply plays and uses imagination. And imagination is an expression of the infinite possibilities of the right side of the brain. So, from earliest age they are trying to secretly encourage the left side of the brain to the expense of the right. In this way they draw people into this false reality that they will perceive as the only reality and they won't be able to understand anything outside the structure of rules and regulations. All of this is to the expense of the right side of the brain.
There is another good example. This is an excellent example of this difference that we are talking about. It's about the experience of one neuro-atomics. She is a scientist that deals with the exploration of the brain in America. Her name is Jill Bolte Taylor. Her story is on the internet. She had the stroke and since she is dealing with the exploration of the brain, she knew exactly what was happening to her at the time. This story is very indicative for that we are talking about. She woke up one morning and didn't feel good. First she stood on her exercise device and tried to exercise. When she looked at her hands, they didn't look like her hands at all. They looked weird; I think she mentioned the word "claws". Anyway, they looked different. She still wasn't feeling well, and after some time she realized she was having a stroke. Since the stroke caught some part on the left side of the brain, the one which decodes energy into this reality, her left side of the brain wasn't functioning so well and in a system of decoding there were errors and it didn't function good anymore. With that, her point of consciousness switched to the right side of the brain, because the left side couldn't compete anymore with the right. In that moment, she said, a person that is a scientist, "I was everything there is.". In that reality there was no border between me and the rest of the world. Everything was whole. Not just that, I even felt profound and complete happiness, which I've never experienced before. I felt joy, love, harmony and sensations of deep happiness. These are the feelings that people cannot find in a world governed by the left side of the brain. They don't find them simply because the left side of the brain just doesn't decode that level of consciousness. She's telling her story in a really amusing way and says she felt wonderful in that moment and nothing else concerned her or occupied her mind. But she still decided that there was something she must do. There were obviously some problems happening although she was feeling great. She went to the phone to try to call a friend and say she has problems and she is in need of assistance. However, when she has gotten to the phone, there weren't any numbers on the phone, just pixels and she couldn't connect them in numbers. Why? Because, as we said, there are many levels of decoded reality. On one level there is only general vibrating energy, the other level is digital like pixels on the film, like green mathematical codes listing on the computer screen in the movie Matrix. If you remember the movie, you remember that people are looking at screens filled with codes and numbers, but they don't see codes and numbers, they see the streets with cars and people. That scene symbolizes this process of decoding we are talking about. She further says it took an awful lot of time to penetrate it and to push the keys with right numbers. So the phone eventually rang and the man from the other side picked up the phone. He said some regular sentence like: "Halo, this is this and that.", and Jill Bolte Taylor from the other side just heard: "wu wu wu". She tried to reply. She thought she was speaking the following: "I have some trouble. I need help." But as she was speaking she just heard herself pronouncing: "wu wu wu". Why? Because the left side of the brain didn't decode what her speaking mechanism was saying. Put your hand in front of your mouth and you'll feel the vibration of your voice, because that's what the voice is, a vibration, which is decoded into text when it gets further in the ear/brain system. When her left side of the brain stopped functioning, that is the side of the brain that decodes language and words, she didn't hear words anymore.
This example greatly shows how the left and the right side of the brain are functioning. When only right side of the brain had functioned, she had been feeling only joy in an understanding that she is everything that ever was, is and will be. In the left side remained a structure and this reality that we normally experience. If we can find the balance between the two sides of the brain, that is perfect. Then we can understand our connection with infinite. Knowing this body is just a temporary form allowing us to experience this reality, with the sensation of separateness from everything else, which is only one experience from many experiences. But knowing that it is just that, our experience, but not us. When that possibility is taken away from us, and society is doing everything to disable that consciousness of connection, people remain trapped in the left side of the brain. They see only separation, division, the need for structure, the need for rules and regulations and vertical structure of power. Because that is the way our brain works in extreme form. And that is why the society is trying to enslave us in the left side of the brain.
How to activate the right side of the brain
Since we are living in a world that is constantly "practicing" or activating our left side of the brain, there is a question how to balance the brain. One of the ways is to start increasing the activity of the right side of the brain. There are many ways to activate the right side of the brain. As we mentioned so far, the right side of the brain is connected with that creative and irrational, while the left side is everything that is rational and logical. Already by knowing this we can conclude some things that can additionally activate the right side. We'll name some of them here, and after that you'll get some new ideas pretty sure too.
Activation of right and left side of the brain
Let yourself some nice music that you like and start dancing freely. It is very important that you feel pleasant and free. To most of you, the very idea of dancing alone and letting go to music will be unpleasant. Everything has to be effortlessly. To ones that are uncomfortable – pull down the curtains so that you can try to eliminate the feeling that someone is watching. There is only you watching. Totally relax your body and let go to your own creativity and music to spontaneously move the body. As we all have left side of the brain more active than the right, the brain will automatically try to do some logical or rational dance. But, it is necessary to realize it and try to "break" logical or rational movements. Whenever you notice that you have started repeating some movement pattern, change it at once. With that, you are starting to activate the creative and irrational centers of the brain. The reactions can be that you start thinking: "What would someone say if he/she saw me like this?" or "Why am I doing this now?" or "This is stupid?" or something like that. Every thought of that origin is coming from the rational side of the brain trying to remain "in control". The ones who try this experience can somewhat afterwards feel great relief and happiness pervading the entire body. An example of freestyle dance!
Conscious usage of the left side of the body
Here we will only mention the English language where the word for the right side of the body -"Right" means "Rightful" or "Just", rightful side. But we won't be going into history now, where all of the sources for this over excessive stimulation of the right side of the body and left side of the brain are. We'll only suggest and name some activities that your body is automatically performing with the right side of the body, and for which you can equally use the left side of the body too. Today, it is commonly known in modern medicine, that the right side of the body is governed by the left side of the brain, while the left side of the body is governed by the right side of the brain.
Most people today are right-handed, but there are many examples of children to whom the left hand was naturally skilful, but they were forced in schools to learn to write with their right hand. However, were they forced or not, it is always possible to learn how to write with your left hand. In the beginning you might start with writing the alphabet letter by letter. After a while, you will be able to write full sentences, until you're in a position to write with your left hand equally as good as with your right hand. Writing is just one example, we can name here just any of the learned things you are doing in your life, unconsciously, like the way you hold your fork and knife while you're eating, the way you blow your nose with a handkerchief, the way you open the door while you're entering a room and likewise. Every action that you consciously start to do with the left side of the body will increase the activity of the right side of the brain. So be creative...
Ever since the ancient times the ancient yogis knew the practices known as "Swara yoga" which by the help of breathing encouraged the brain activity, and after some time of practicing, a balance between the two brain hemispheres is achieved. We'll name one of these breathing exercises (or pranayams) here. This breathing practice is random breathing through the left and the right nostril – purpose of it is to alternate the activation of one hemisphere of the brain and than the other. It eventually leads to balance of the both hemispheres. If you wish to practice both sides of the brain you can first close one nostril with your finger(s), breath in, breath out (through the nose, of course), than close the other nostril and open the first one, breath in and breath out.
If you wish to activate only the right side of the brain, because you believe you're in a group that has the left side of the brain overly active, you can close your right nostril for a while through which the left side of the brain is activated, and breath only through the left nostril, thus activating the right side of the brain. You can also close the nostril by gently putting some wet cotton in it. This practice is very practical and easy to perform.
|Posted on September 1, 2015 at 11:00 AM||comments (0)|
The following is an excerpt from Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander, copyright © 1977. Reprinted with the permission of William Morrow and Company, Inc. This installment offers an examination of the neuro-physiological effects of watching TV: It produces confusion and submission to external imagery, and conditions the viewer for submission to autocratic control.
How Television Dims the Mind
When you are watching television and believe you are looking at pictures, you are actually looking at the phosphorescent glow of three hundred thousand tiny dots. There is no picture there.
These dots seem to be lit constantly, but in fact they are not. All the dots go off thirty times per second, creating what is called the flicker effect of television, which is similar to strobe or ordinary fluorescent light.
For many years conventional wisdom held that since this flickering happens at a rate beyond the so-called flicker-fusion rate of the human eye, we do not consciously note it, and we presumably are not affected by it. However, recent discoveries about the biological effects of very minor stimuli by W. Ross Adey and others, and the growing incidence of television epilepsy among those particularly sensitive to flicker, have shown that whether we consciously note the flicker or not, our bodies react to it.
A second factor is that even when the dots go "on," not all of them are lit simultaneously. Which dots are on determines the picture. In a sense, the television screen is like a newspaper photograph or the images on a film, which are also comprised of dots, except that the television dots are lighted one at a time according to a scanning system that starts behind the screen. Proceeding along a line from the upper-right-hand portion of your screen across the top to the left, the scan lights some dots and skips others, depending upon the image to be conveyed. Then the scan goes down another line, starts at the right again and goes across to the left and so on.
What you perceive as a picture is actually an image that never exists in any given moment but rather is constructed over time. Your perception of it as an image depends upon your brain's ability to gather in all the lit dots, collect the image they make on your retina in sequence, and form a picture. The picture itself, however, never existed. Unlike ordinary life, in which whatever you see actually exists outside you before you let it in through your eyes, a television image gains its existence only once you've put it together inside your head.
As you watch television you do not "see" any of this fancy construction work happening. It is taking place at a rate faster than the nerve pathways between your retina and the portion of your brain that "sees" can process them. You can only see things that happen within a range of speeds. This is because four million years of human evolution developed our eyes to process only that data which were concretely useful. Until this generation, there was no need to see anything that moved at electronic speed. Everything that we humans can actually do anything about moves slowly enough for us to see
|Posted on September 1, 2015 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
It satellite links
Our United States of Unconsciousness
Apathetic therapeutic and extremely addictive
The methadone metronome pumping out
150 channels 24 hours a day
You can flip through all of them
And still there's nothing worth watching
— Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy,
Television, Drug of a Nation
Alright junkies, I know you don’t like staring at long strands of motionless text, and I know it’s a struggle for you to analyze and comprehend the meaning of complex sequences of words. But if you give me just a few minutes, I will let you in on a little secret that marketers and governments have been relying on for decades. That television you watch every day, your secret best friend, is an addictive opiate, and not only that, it’s one of the most potent mind control devices ever produced. And I’m not just basing this on intuition. I have the neurological evidence to prove it.
Although the definitions are vague and somewhat misleading, the word “addiction” usually refers to a psychological or physical dependence on a particular experience that must be repeated in order for a person to be comfortable. Usually, we think about this in terms of chemical addiction, which occurs when the addict’s chemical of choice reorganizes the nervous system so that it requires the presence of that chemical to operate smoothly.
Of course, not all addictions are chemical. Any behavior that leads to a pleasurable experience will be repeated, especially if that behavior requires little work. Psychologists call this pattern “positive reinforcement.” This is what we mean, technically speaking, by addiction. In this sense, television certainly fits into the category of an addictive agent.
When you watch TV, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. In fact, experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that while viewers are watching television, the right hemisphere is twice as active as the left, a neurological anomaly.1 The crossover from left to right releases a surge of the body’s natural opiates: endorphins, which include beta-endorphins and enkephalins. Endorphins are structurally identical to opium and its derivatives (morphine, codeine, heroin, etc.). Activities that release endorphins (also called opioid peptides) are usually habit-forming (we rarely call them addictive). These include cracking knuckles, strenuous exercise, and orgasm. External opiates act on the same receptor sites (opioid receptors) as endorphins, so there is little difference between the two.
In fact, strenuous exercise, which produces the nominal “runner's high”—a release of endorphins that flood the system, can be highly addictive, to the point where “addicts” who abruptly stop exercising experience opiate-withdrawal symptoms, namely migraine headaches. These migraines are caused by a dysfunction in opioid receptors, which are accustomed to the steady influx of endorphins.
Indeed, even casual television viewers experience such opiate-withdrawal symptoms if they stop watching TV for a prolonged period of time. An article from South Africa’s Eastern Province Herald (October 1975) described two experiments in which people from various socio-economic milieus were asked to stop watching television. In one experiment, several families volunteered to turn off their TV’s for just one month. The poorest family gave in after one week, and the others suffered from depression, saying they felt as though they had “lost a friend.” In the other experiment, 182 West Germans agreed to kick their television viewing habit for a year, with the added bonus of payment. None could resist the urge longer than six months, and over time all of the participants showed the symptoms of opiate withdrawal: increased anxiety, frustration, and depression.
The signs of addiction are all around us. The average American watches over four hours of television every day, and 49% of those continue to watch despite admitting to doing it excessively. These are the classic indicators of an addict in denial: addicts know they're doing harm to themselves, but continue to use the drug regardless.
Recent studies on laboratory rats show that opioid-receptor stimulants induce addictive behaviors. The evidence is conclusive: all opioids are addictive! Even the ones your body produces naturally. The television set works as a high-tech drug delivery system, and we all feel its effects. The question is, can an addiction to television be destructive? The answer we receive from modern science is a resounding “Yes!”
First of all, when you're watching television the higher brain regions (like the midbrain and the neo-cortex) are shut down, and most activity shifts to the lower brain regions (like the limbic system). The neurological processes that take place in these regions cannot accurately be called “cognitive.” The lower or reptile brain simply stands poised to react to the environment using deeply embedded “fight or flight” response programs. Moreover, these lower brain regions cannot distinguish reality from fabricated images (a job performed by the neo-cortex), so they react to television content as though it were real, releasing appropriate hormones and so on. Studies have proven that, in the long run, too much activity in the lower brain leads to atrophy in the higher brain regions.
It is interesting to note that the lower/reptile/limbic brain correlates to the bio-survival circuit of the Leary/Wilson 8 Circuit Model of Consciousness. This is our primal circuit, the base “presence” that we normally associate with consciousness. This is the circuit where we receive our first neurological imprint (the oral imprint), which conditions us to advance toward anything warm, pleasurable and/or protective in the environment. The bio-survival circuit is our most infantile, our most primal way of dealing with reality.
A person obsessed with the pursuit of physical pleasure is probably fixated on this circuit; in fact the Freudians believed an opium addiction was an attempt to return to the womb. We could logically deduce that such addictions occur when higher brain functions are anesthetized and the newly dominant lower brain seeks out pleasure at any cost. Taking this into account, television is like a double edged sword: not only does it cause the endocrine system to release the body’s natural opiates (endorphins), but it also concentrates neurological activity in the lower brain regions where we are motivated by nothing but the pursuit of pleasure. Television produces highly functional, mobile “bio-survival robots.”
Herbert Krugman’s research proved that watching television numbs the left brain and leaves the right brain to perform all cognitive duties. This has some harrowing implications for the effects of television on brain development and health. For one, the left hemisphere is the critical region for organizing, analyzing, and judging incoming data. The right brain treats incoming data uncritically, and it does not decode or divide information into its component parts.
The right brain processes information in wholes, leading to emotional rather than intelligent responses. We cannot rationally attend to the content presented on television because that part of our brain is not in operation. It is therefore unsurprising that people rarely comprehend what they see on television, as was shown by a study conducted by researcher Jacob Jacoby. Jacoby found that, out of 2,700 people tested, 90% misunderstood what they watched on television only minutes before. As yet there is no explanation as to why we switch to the right brain while viewing television, but we do know this phenomenon is immune to content.
For a brain to comprehend and communicate complex meaning, it must be in a state of “chaotic disequilibrium.” This means that there must be a dynamic flow of communication between all of the regions of the brain, which facilitates the comprehension of higher levels of order (breaking conceptual thresholds), and leads to the formation of complex ideas. High levels of chaotic brain activity are present during challenging tasks like reading, writing, and working mathematical equations in your head. They are not present while watching TV. Levels of brain activity are measured by an electroencenograph (EEG) machine. While watching television, the brain appears to slow to a halt, registering low alpha wave readings on the EEG. This is caused by the radiant light produced by cathode ray technology within the television set. Even if you're reading text on a television screen the brain registers low levels of activity. Once again, regardless of the content being presented, television essentially turns off your nervous system.
In addition to its devastating neurological effects, television can be harmful to your sense of self-worth, your perception of your environment, and your physical health. Recent surveys have shown that 75% of American women think they are overweight, likely the result of watching chronically thin actresses and models four hours a day.
Television has also spawned a “culture of fear” in the U.S. and beyond, with its focus on the limbic brain-friendly sensationalism of violent programming. Studies have shown that people of all generations greatly overestimate the threat of violence in real life. This is no shock because their brains cannot discern reality from fiction while watching TV.
Television is bad for your body as well. Obesity, sleep deprivation, and stunted sensory development are all common among television addicts.
So I hope we’ve firmly established that television is an addictive drug, one that is no better than opium, heroin, or any other opiate. Television is just as (and possibly even more) harmful to the body-brain as every other drug. But there’s one big difference. All other drugs apparently pose a threat to the established social order. Television, however, is a drug that is actually essential to maintaining the social infrastructure. Why? Because it brainwashes consumers to throw money at the gaping void of their meaningless, terror-filled lives. And by brainwashed, I mean they’ve been hypnotized using very subtle and established techniques which, when coupled with television’s natural effects on brain waves, make for the most ambitious psychological engineering ruse ever concocted.
Psychophysiologist Thomas Mulholland found that after just 30 seconds of watching television the brain begins to produce alpha waves, which indicates torpid (almost comatose) rates of activity. Alpha brain waves are associated with unfocused, overly receptive states of consciousness. A high frequency alpha waves does not occur normally when the eyes are open. In fact, Mulholland’s research implies that watching television is neurologically analogous to staring at a blank wall.
I should note that the goal of hypnotists is to induce slow brain wave states. Alpha waves are present during the “light hypnotic” state used by hypno-therapists for suggestion therapy.
When Mulholland’s research was published it greatly impacted the television industry, at least in the marketing and advertising sector. Realizing viewers automatically enter a trance state while watching television, marketers began designing commercials that produce unconscious emotional states or moods within the viewer. The aim of commercials is not to appeal to the rational or conscious mind (which usually dismisses advertisements) but rather to implant moods that the consumer will associate with the product when it is encountered in real life. When we see product displays at a store, for instance, those positive emotions are triggered. Endorsements from beloved athletes and other celebrities evoke the same associations. If you’ve ever doubted the power of television advertising, bear this in mind: commercials work better if you’re not paying attention to them!
An addictive mind control device . . . what more could a government or profit-driven corporation ask for? But the really sad thing about television is that it turns
everyone into a zombie, no one is immune. There is no higher order of super-intelligent, nefarious beings behind this. It’s the product of our very human desire to alter our state of consciousness and escape the hardships of reality.
While AdBusters has their highly ineffectual “TV Turnoff Week,” I’d like to announce a campaign of my own. Starting next week, we will celebrate what I like to call TV Pawn-Off Week. I encourage you all to sell your televisions, and use the money to buy some books.
We’re living in a Brave New World, only it’s not so brave, or even that new. In fact, it’s starting to look more and more like the Dark Ages, with the preliterate zombie masses obeying the authority of the new clergy: Regis Philbin and Jerry Springer.
1. Krugman, Herbert E. “Brain wave Measures of Media Involvement,” Journal of Advertising Research 11.1 (1971): 3-9. Krugman later became manager of public opinion research at General Electric.
For more on brain state changes occasioned by watching television, see: Emery, Merrelyn, The Social and Neurophysiological Effects of Television and their Implications for Marketing Practice. Doctoral dissertation. Australian National University. Canberra, 1985; Nelson, Joyce, The Perfect Machine (New Society Pub: 1992).
|Posted on September 1, 2015 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
Studies have shown that watching television induces low alpha waves in the human brain. Alpha waves are brainwaves between 8 to 12 HZ. and are commonly associated with relaxed meditative states as well as brain states associated with suggestibility.
While Alpha waves achieved through meditation are beneficial (they promote relaxation and insight), too much time spent in the low Alpha wave state caused by TV can cause unfocussed daydreaming and inability to concentrate. Researchers have said that watching television is similar to staring at a blank wall for several hours..
We all like to watch TV from time to time, and this is not meant to suggest that people should never watch TV again. However, it is only fair that people understand what happens to the brain each time it is exposed to television.
In an experiment in 1969, Herbert Krugman monitored a person through many trials and found that in less than one minute of television viewing, the person's brainwaves switched from Beta waves– brainwaves associated with active, logical thought– to primarily Alpha waves. When the subject stopped watching television and began reading a magazine, the brainwaves reverted to Beta waves.
Research indicates that most parts of the brain, including parts responsible for logical thought, tune out during television viewing. The impact of television viewing on one person's brain state is obviously not enough to conclude that the same consequences apply to everyone, but research has repeatedly shown that watching television produces brainwaves in the low Alpha range.
Advertisers have known about this for a long time and they know how to take advantage of this passive, suggestible, brain state of the TV viewer. There is no need for an advertiser to use subliminal messages. The brain is already in a receptive state, ready to absorb suggestions, within just a few seconds of the television being turned on. All advertisers have to do is flash a brand across the screen, and then attempt to make the viewer associate the product with something positive.
Reading (a book or magazine, for instance– not televised text. It is the radiant light from a television set that is believed to induce the slower brainwaves ) and writing both require higher brain wave states. If you want to keep your brain focused and your attention strong, it is a good idea to cut your television time. Sitting quietly for a few minutes, painting, singing, reading, or going for a walk, are better for you in all ways.
Effects on Kids Watching TV
First let's determine how big a presence is TV in your kids' lives?
Statistics have shown that TV viewing among kids is at an eight-year high. On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console. Kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week in front of the TV. The vast majority of this viewing (97%) is of live TV.
71% of 8- to 18-year-olds have a TV in their bedroom ; 54% have a DVD/VCR player, 37% have cable/satellite TV, and 20% have premium channels.
We can now access TV content easier than ever before, such as on the Internet, cell phones and iPods. This has led to an increase in time spent viewing TV, even as TV-set viewing has declined. 41% of TV-viewing is now online, time-shifted, DVD or mobile.
In about two-thirds of households, the TV is "usually" on during meals.
In 53% of households of 7th- to 12th-graders, there are no rules about TV watching.
In 51% of households, the TV is on "most" of the time.
Kids with a TV in their bedroom spend an average of almost 1.5 hours more per day watching TV than kids without a TV in the bedroom.
Many parents encourage their toddlers to watch television.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests to take a "better-safe-than-sorry" approach on TV for young children.
"It may be tempting to put your infant or toddler in front of the television, especially to watch shows created just for children under age two.
But the American Academy of Pediatrics says: Don't do it!
These early years are crucial in a child's development. The Academy is concerned about the impact of television programming intended for children younger than age two and how it could affect your child's development. Pediatricians strongly oppose targeted programming, especially when it's used to market toys, games, dolls, unhealthy food and other products to toddlers.
Any positive effect of television on infants and toddlers is still open to question, but the benefits of parent-child interactions are proven. Under age two, talking, singing, reading, listening to music or playing are far more important to a child's development than any TV show."
In addition, TV can discourage and replace more useful habits and processes. Reading requires much more thinking than television, and we know that reading fosters young people's healthy brain development. Kids from families that have the TV on a lot spend less time reading and being read to, and are less likely to be able to read.
As you can see, if your child is typical, TV is playing a very big role in their life. Here are some key research findings to keep in mind as you decide what kind of role you want TV to play in your family:
TV viewing is probably replacing activities in your child' s life that you would rather have them do (things like playing with friends, being physically active, getting fresh air, playing imaginatively, doing homework, doing chores).
Kids who spend more time watching TV (both with and without parents and siblings present) spend less time interacting with family members.
Excessive TV viewing can contribute to poor grades, sleep problems, behavior problems, obesity, and risky behavior.
Most children’s programming does not teach what parents say they want their children to learn; many shows are filled with stereotypes, violent solutions to problems, and mean behavior.
Advertisers target kids, and on average, children see tens of thousands of TV commercials each year. This includes many ads for unhealthy snack foods and drinks. Children and youth see, on average, about 2,000 beer and wine ads on TV each year.
Kids see favorite characters smoking, drinking, and involved in sexual situations and other risky behaviors in the shows and movies they watch on TV.
There are many good educational TV shows now that are available to watch but still, let's do all we can to prepare our kids (and ourselves) in the best way possible by limiting the TV and its harmful effects.
|Posted on June 16, 2015 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
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The Star Trek franchise continues with this follow-up to 2009's J.J. Abrams-directed reboot. Abrams returns to direct ... Read More
In the great tradition of meta-trailers, the teaser for the trailer of "Star Trek Into Darkness" has arrived.
Kirk, Spock and the rest of the gang are back for J.J. Abrams's intergalactic sequel. According to Paramount's press release, our heroes return home to "find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis."
Also, villain Benedict Cumberbatch.......read more at http://adf.ly/Fk0Us