SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Finding Meaning through Mythological Representations: Delving Further into Jordan Peterson’s Maps of Meaning

Why have many ancient - and even contemporary stories - just stuck with us and seem etched into the psyche of civilization? What is it about particular narratives that appear to hold something so essential to our existence, and that have become reference points for our own narratives? And how can a story, or a mythology, serve us as we navigate life's many day to day travails, and unexpected twists and turns? Jordan Peterson writes: "A good theory lets you use things — things that once appeared useless — for desirable ends. In consequence, such a theory has a general sense of excitement and hope about it. A good theory about the structure of myth should let you see how a story you couldn't even understand previously might shed new and useful light on the meaning of your life." Join...

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New dream study reveals nightmares help brain prepare for real anxiety-provoking situation

Nightmares are no fun, but a new international study finds all that nighttime fear may actually be serving a greater purpose. Researchers from both Switzerland and the United States identified the areas of the brain that were activated while a group of participants experienced fear in their dreams. Interestingly, they discovered that after the participants woke up, those same emotion-regulating brain areas responded to scary situations much more efficiently. All in all, the research team believe their findings lend credence to the theory that dreams actually help our brains prepare to tackle real world stressful situations. Consequently, this research opens the door for a multitude of new dream-based therapeutic methods for treating anxiety. Dreams have become a popular topic of research in neuroscience circles, more specifically the areas of the brain that activate as we doze off. Just recently it...

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How dancing gives your brain and mood a big boost

It doesn't matter if you are a professional dancer or if you just like to move on the dance floor on Saturday night. It doesn't matter if you like to tango or break dance. Dancing, of any kind, combines physical exercise with the positive power of music and social engagement. Together, these yield major mental health and brain benefits. In fact, it has such beneficial effects on the brain that dancing is increasingly used as therapy for developmental disorders like Down's syndrome, mood disorders such as depression, and neurological disorders as in the case of schizophrenia, Parkinson's, and dementia. Here is why it's so good for your brain. ...

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Marcus Aurelius’s utterly practical Stoic guide to inner freedom

Marcus Aurelius's "Meditations" instructs us in practices to restore our power of free will. In The Princess Bride, Westley disguised as the Dread Pirate Roberts delivers one of writer William Goldman's classic lines: "Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." The Stoic philosophers weren't trying to sell us anything. If you believe Stoicism is a superficial idea that encourages us to suck up our pain and get on with it, you are missing their point. The Stoics didn't promise freedom from disturbing emotions and hardships. They promised the freedom to have emotional well-being despite our problems. The Stoics didn't teach us to resist our feelings or pretend they don't exist. To the Stoics, sucking it up was a waste of a learning opportunity. In previous essays, I have considered the ideas of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and...

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Ben Shapiro interviews David Berlinski on his new book, Human Nature

Wow, this is an amazing, hour-long conversation between Ben Shapiro and our Discovery Institute colleague David Berlinski. It's today's Sunday Special on the Ben Shapiro Show and you can watch it here on YouTube: Berlinski is wise and hilarious, and Shapiro a very fitting interlocutor. David's new book, which forms the spine of the interview, is Human Nature, out now. I'll have more to say on their interaction later. But in the spirit of the Fast Track program of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, hastening needed prescription medicine ahead of otherwise routine burdensome drug trial requirements, here are David and Ben right NOW, covering the philosophical and political attack on essentialism, why evolution is fundamentally at odds with a fixed nature to human beings (or dogs, or anything else living), whether the problems with evolutionary science are more a...

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