“The cost of sanity, in this society, is a certain level of alienation”

The late psychonaut/philosopher Terence McKenna once said "The cost of sanity, in this society, is a certain level of alienation," and I think my regular readers will immediately and experientially understand exactly what he was talking about. It's not always easy to be on the outside of consensus reality. Our entire society, after all, has been built upon consensus — upon a shared agreement about what specific mouth sounds mean, on what money is and how it works, on how we should all behave toward each other in public spaces, and on what normal human behavior in general looks like. We all share a learned agreement that we picked up from our culture in early childhood that it's normal and acceptable to stand around with your hands in your pockets and babble about the weather to anyone who gets too...

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New research suggests anthropomorphising your emotions can help you control them

In the Pixar film Inside Out, the emotions of an 11-year-old girl are personified as perky Joy, petulant Disgust and hulking Anger. Sadness - voiced by The American Office's Phyllis Smith - is, predictably, a downer with a deep side-parting and a chunky knit. Amy Poehler's Joy can hardly stand to be around her, like a colleague you would time your trips to the tea point to avoid. But the takeaway of the 2015 film - said by Variety to "for ever change the way people think about the way people think" - was that both emotions were necessary, and Sadness was as valid a part of life as Joy. Now there is a case for not only accepting Sadness, as in Inside Out - but embodying her, too. Researchers from Hong Kong and Texas recently found that individuals asked...

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