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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Medical scientists take Near Death Experiences seriously now

Today, we know much more about what happens to people when they die — and what we are learning does not support materialism In a continuing discussion, Robert J. Marks and Walter Bradley, after whom the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence is named, looked at near-death experiences (NDEs). Here's the podcast: "Walter Bradley: Don't go towards the light?" Excerpts: 01:55 | Definition of a near-death experience Walter Bradley: A near-death experience is a term that describes what today has become quite common in emergency rooms across the country as well as in highway accidents and so forth in which a person has a complete loss of heartbeat and brainwaves... And if they are resuscitated, what can they tell us about that intervening period where they were so-called clinically dead and yet, in many cases, they have remarkable...

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Sleepwalking is still a mystery to scientists

Somewhere in the murky space that divides alert from dormant — an enigmatic realm through which we all drift in the course of a good night's sleep — the human body sometimes behaves as though it belongs to both worlds at once. It rises from bed, ambling aimlessly. Perhaps it fiddles with household objects, cleans the kitchen or rearranges the furniture. At a glance, it seems to see, to feel, to register its surroundings. But look closer: The eyes are glassy, the movements clumsy. "These people are stuck in the nether regions between asleep and awake," says Nathaniel Watson, co-director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center. Sleepwalking (a sleep disorder formally known as somnambulism) has mystified and intrigued humankind throughout history. Lady Macbeth suffered a bout of it in her post-homicide guilt; Dracula used it to his advantage...

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Gratitude heals: How a neuroscientist used his research to recover from grief

Neuroscientist Glenn Fox has dedicated his life to studying gratitude — how it improves our resilience, lowers stress, and boosts overall health. He's an expert on the ability of gratitude to help us through tough times. But on Thanksgiving in 2013, Fox was feeling anything but grateful. That's because, just a few days before, he'd lost his mother to ovarian cancer. The day after, going down to Starbucks for coffee and some pastries, "it was like the most intense experience ever. And I just thought, how am I even going to get through this? How am I even going to order?" Fox was just months away from completing his Ph.D. on the neural bases of gratitude. He knew from his research how therapeutic gratitude can be — and how it could help him in his long journey recovering from grief....

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A whole branch of science turns out to be fake

Devotees of science often assume that what is called science is real and true. It must be. Otherwise, their faith is broken. Their superficial understanding is shattered. Their "superior view" of the world is torpedoed. Such people choose unofficial "anti-science" targets to attack. They never think of inspecting their own house for enormous fraud. For example: psychiatry. An open secret has been slowly bleeding out into public consciousness for the past ten years. ...

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