Curses are experiences that trigger and sustain the activity of our threat brain. Many of us find it difficult to maintain a state of calm receptivity and a low stress life. Too often we are thrown off centre into the reactive feelings, thoughts and behaviours that define our threat brain response. For example, we can frequently feel irritated, anxious , overly critical, apathetic or disengaged. However, this is not our fault . It is a consequence of evolution and the mixed blessings that come with being human. Being human is not and never will be easy for there are many forces at work within and around us that trigger and sustain our threat response and cause suffering and pain. So much so that in my work I refer to them as curses, and there are five, in particular, that if we do not learn how to deal with will and do cause us real problems. The curse of consciousness The first is the curse of consciousness . Whilst being able to think about ourselves … [Read more...] about It’s Not My Fault But It Is My Problem.
Huge improv theater
Marriage today isn’t what it used to be. Throughout history, marriage has always been first and foremost an economic arrangement, with a couple entering into a lifelong relationship for the purpose of raising children and maintaining family property. All the better if the young couple just happened to be in love, but even if the new bride and groom barely knew each other, there was always the hope that love would grow between them over time. By the nineteenth century, the dilemma of marriage for love or money was a common theme in literature. And by the twentieth century, most people would have agreed that a young couple considering marriage should love each other. Still, expectations then were lower than today. For one thing, there were clear gender roles for the future husband and wife to act out. And for another thing, people viewed spouses as life partners within a complex social network of family and friends. Nowadays, people expect their spouses to be their … [Read more...] about Are Open Marriages Happier?
I was recently asked, "What still needs to be changed to make it more accessible for people in the LGBTQ+ community to become parents?" Some states have yet to begin treating all of their citizens equally. Some won’t give a nonbiologic gay partner custody along with the bio-parent. Some won’t even let you do an after-the-fact adoption . You have to go to another state, do the adoption there, then come home to your home state and have them recognize the adoption. I am not aware of any legitimate government aim advanced by this, but it adds stress and stigma and time and costs to surrogacy journeys, which takes resources from kids. The previous administration advanced several policies which discriminated against LGBT families. It sought to let adoption agencies reject gay parents. It fought the automatic parentage of nonbiologic parents, even in married same- sex couples. It removed protections against discrimination of trans soldiers in the armed forces and of LGBT … [Read more...] about LGBT Parental Rights: Where We Stand
Source: "Othello's Lamentation" by William Salter, from Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0 We start this series of comments on aesthetic cognitivism with reflections by the psychologist Ellen Winner, author of the book How Art Works: A Psychological Exploration . Aesthetic cognitivism refers to the philosophical claim that aesthetic engagement advances knowledge and enhances understanding. Is this claim true? How would we know? By Ellen Winner In his book, Ways of Worldmaking , philosopher Nelson Goodman makes the bold claim that “the arts must be taken no less seriously than the sciences as modes of discovery, creation, and enlargement of knowledge in the broad sense of advancement of the understanding” (Goodman, 1978, p. 102). Painter György Kepes said that both the artist and the scientist “reach beneath surface phenomena to discover basic natural pattern and basic natural process" (Kepes, 1960, p. 6). These statements have a “feel right” quality to them, … [Read more...] about What Does Aesthetic Cognitivism Really Mean, Anyway?
On a plane, passengers have neither control nor escape. If something goes wrong, there is nothing they can do. The idea of being helpless when in danger triggers the release of stress hormones . If the stress hormones build up too much, imagination takes over. The thought of the plane falling out of the sky stops being just a thought. Even as the plane is flying fine, the anxious passenger believes the plane is plunging. Our situation in this pandemic is similar. We have neither control of the situation nor a way to escape it. The idea of contracting the virus can release stress hormones. If the thought persists and stress hormone levels build up, we — like passengers on a plane — may lose our ability to separate imagination from reality. The thought of being in intensive care can overtake us even as we go through the day in good health. If someone confronts us with the fact that we don't need to be so distraught, we may justify our distress by saying, "But it could … [Read more...] about Anxious? Starting to Panic? Check Your Imagination