Jaded: Voters have high tolerance for politicians who lie, even those caught doing it

In a modern democracy, peddling conspiracies for political advantage is perhaps not so different from seeding an epidemic. If a virus is to gain a foothold with the electorate, it will need a population of likely believers ("susceptibles" in public-health speak), a germ nimble enough to infect new hosts easily (an irresistible tall tale), and an eager "Amen choir" (also known as "super-spreaders"). Unleashed on the body politic, a falsehood may spread across the social networks that supply us with information. Facebook is a doorknob slathered in germs, Twitter a sneezing coworker, and Instagram a child returning home after a day at school, ensuring the exposure of all. But if lies, conspiracies and fake news are really like germs, you might think that fact-checking is the cure, and truth an effective antidote. If only it were that easy. ...

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‘Stupid’ & ‘lazy’: The road to hell is paved with overly simplistic labels

"This is my favorite thing about being raised in Africa: We don't do labels very well; we don't do this, 'Oh, you're a Democrat; oh, you're a Republican.' Because we live in the real world." -Dambisa Moyo Unfortunately, many of us have developed corrosive habits in how we relate to ourselves and others. It's critically important that we approach this conversation with curiosity, rather than criticism, to avoid perpetuating a vicious cycle, though it is often hard to avoid pangs of regret when trying to figure out how to do a better job. It's challenging, especially early on, to tolerate the shameful and painful emotions which can come up when we really start to work on issues, and even more challenging early on to be grateful for the opportunities we give ourselves. The road to hell is paved with overly...

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Addiction and a lack of purpose

How the opioid epidemic is related to a "purpose deficient" culture. As you are no doubt aware, presently the United States is experiencing an opioid epidemic. There are many reasons for this - one of the most obvious being the reckless over-subscription of opiate-based painkillers by doctors, leading to dependency. But on a psychological level, we have to take into account the strong relationship between addiction and the lack of a sense of purpose. To some extent, addiction is the result of a lack of purpose. It's partly the consequence of experiencing what the psychologist Viktor Frankl called the 'existential vacuum' - feeling as though there is no purpose or meaning to your life. With a strong sense of purpose, we become very resilient, able to overcome challenges, and to bounce back after setbacks. We are also better able to...

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Extrinsic goals vs intrinsic goals: The reasons why there is a rise in children’s mental disorders

There's a reason kids are more anxious and depressed than ever. Rates of depression and anxiety among young people in America have been increasing steadily for the past 50 to 70 years. Today, by at least some estimates, five to eight times as many high school and college students meet the criteria for diagnosis of major depression and/or anxiety disorder as was true half a century or more ago. This increased psychopathology is not the result of changed diagnostic criteria; it holds even when the measures and criteria are constant. The most recent evidence for the sharp generational rise in young people's depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders comes from a just-released study headed by Jean Twenge at San Diego State University. Twenge and her colleagues took advantage of the fact that the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), a questionnaire...

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Don’t Deny Girls the Evolutionary Wisdom of Fairy-Tales and Princesses

The view from moral high ground is best enjoyed after the check (for whatever you're moralizing against) clears. Rather like animal-rights activists who own a string of steakhouses, Disney film stars Kristin Bell and Keira Knightley spoke out recently against the bad examples they feel Disney princesses convey to girls. (Bell voiced the role of Princess Anna in Disney's 2013 animated film Frozen, and Knightley stars as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Disney's new live action feature, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.) Knightley even used her Nutcracker promo tour to reveal that she's banned certain Disney films from her own home. The Little Mermaid is one prohibited flick, and Cinderella is another - because, Knightley explains, Cinderella "waits around for a rich guy to rescue her." Of course, Knightley and Bell aren't alone in their disapproval. There's been a...

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Slowly but surely, psychology is accepting that faith might play a role in treatment

For anyone who took a college course in psychology more than a decade ago or who is even casually acquainted with the subject through popular articles, a close examination of today's field would undoubtedly prove surprising. The science that for most of the 20th century portrayed itself as the enlightened alternative to organized religion has taken a decidedly spiritual turn. Bowling Green State University professor Kenneth Pargament, who in 2013 edited the American Psychological Association's Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality, notes just how dramatically his profession's attitude towards faith has changed in recent times. As a young academic interested in the connection between mental health and religion, he would "go to the library once a semester and leisurely review the journals" only to be disappointed by how little his colleagues had to say about it. But "no more," Pargament...

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Russian Hachiko: Loyal pooch spends weeks outside hospital awaiting owner’s recovery

Heavy snowfall, chilling wind, and temperatures far below zero are no obstacle for true love as proven by a loyal dog, who has been waiting for her sick master outside a hospital for two weeks now. Her amazing fidelity has quickly made, Cherry, from the Russian city of Voronezh a media sensation and led to obvious comparisons with Hachiko. Back in the 1920s, a Japanese dog had been waiting for her owner's return outside a train station for nine years, not knowing that he passed away, to become an ultimate symbol of friendship. ...

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SOTT FOCUS: The Truth Perspective: Unlocking the Secrets of Consciousness, Hyperdimensional Attractors and Frog Brains

Welcome back! On today's show we discuss the ground-breaking work Consciousness: Anatomy of the Soul. Written by Peter Walling and Kenneth Hicks, this short little book takes aim at the Mt. Everest of scientific, religious, and philosophical questions - what is consciousness? Using mathematics, experiment, and probing insight, Walling and Hicks make a compelling case as to the nature, earthly evolution, and even the location of consciousness. Described as a "thrilling romp through the last billion years," Consciousness: Anatomy of the Soul takes the reader down a rabbit-hole into a mathematical world of flat-land and hyperspace, toroids, and beyond. So join us today on the Truth Perspective as we discuss this breathtaking landscape and the implications it has for each of us on our own individual paths of evolution. Running Time: 01:43:11 Download: OGG, MP3 Listen live, chat, and call...

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Feminists find ‘sexist’ men more attractive than ‘woke’ men

Why do women find sexist men appealing? Women like bad boys. At least, that's the story. And there's lots of writing and anecdotal experience to back that up. Men frequently complain about being "friendzoned," the idea being that men who are respectful toward their female interests get placed into the role of friend, rather than potential boyfriend. The "pickup artist" community has embraced this concept, teaching men how to behave in assertive, dominant ways that, allegedly, are more successful with women. Many of these concepts and dynamics themselves have been called sexist and misogynistic, reflecting underlying beliefs that women "owe" men sex. The "incel" community, a group of online males who complain bitterly, violently, and angrily about being "involuntary celibates" attack women for choosing "Alpha males" rather than softer, kinder men. . . like themselves. Women who admit to liking...

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Understanding the Vagus Nerve: Interview with Dr. Stephen Porges

Yogis know that practice positively affects physical health-but what's the deal with the vagus nerve? Renowned neuroscientist Dr. Stephen Porges explains. It might seem obvious, but our nervous system is affected by everything we do. In the trauma-filled wake of recent gun violence in schools and the overwhelmingly heartbreaking stories shared during the #MeToo movement, conversations around wellness, trauma, and mental health have been thrust into the mainstream. Now more than ever, people are questioning what it means to be safe and what happens when we are threatened, on edge, and stressed. ...

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