Epicurus on the role of suffering and pursuit of happiness

We've all been there. Fear, anxiety, depression, existential dread...these are common side effects of the human condition and part of life experience. No matter where you have found yourself in history or what may be happening in global society, anxiety, depression and other mental and emotional challenges present themselves to us all at some point in our journey through life. Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 - 270BC) recognized the suffering within himself and his fellow men and women. He established the Epicurean school of philosophy that promoted the Art of Simple Living. ...

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Covid-19 infecting our DREAMS, says study – and researchers claim it hints at ‘some form of SHARED MINDSCAPE’

Many of us consider it a living nightmare and, now, new research proves the Covid-19 pandemic is invading our dreams too. Moreover, it concludes that the similar themes of its test subjects' dreams point to a "shared" mindscape. Researchers in Finland used artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the recent dreams of several hundred people, details of which had been recorded on a database. They found that Covid-19 had 'infected' over half the dreams that the participants described as 'bad'. The resulting paper, titled 'Pandemic Dreams: Network Analysis of Dream Content During the COVID-19 Lockdown', was published on the online open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology. To carry out their study, the researchers crowdsourced sleep and stress data from a pool of some 4,000 participants during the sixth week of lockdown in Finland, 800 of whom also gave detailed information about and...

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SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: The Allure and Contagion of the Criminal Mind

In such works as Inside the Criminal Mind and The Myth of the Out of Character Crime criminologist Dr. Stanton E. Samenow conceptualized and gave credence to the specific traits and behaviors of the 'criminal mind'. Such works not only show the thinking processes involved in law-breaking and antisocial behavior, but also (however unintentionally) instruct the more normally oriented of us of the self-entitlement one can and should be wary of - within our own character structure. Making use of the above, and as a point of departure, we look at how historical and current cultural landscapes have, and do still, feed the criminal mind. Through political indoctrination and ideology this sickness glorifies, popularizes and normalizes pathological thinking - and, like a virus, is emulated and adopted across all strata of society. Join us this week on MindMatters as we...

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Actions to take when you dislike yourself and your life

Most of us have experienced that pivotal peak of pain, anger or frustration in which we want to scream "I hate my life." Yet, the feeling that a dark cloud has specifically settled over us and our experiences can feel pretty isolating. The truth is, no matter how singled out or overwhelmed we feel, and no matter what area we are struggling in, we are not alone. More than half of U.S. workers are unhappy with their job. One in 10 Americans struggles with depression. All of us have moments of utter despair. Escaping from this hopeless-seeming state may feel impossible. Yet, in reality, we are not doomed, and we are not powerless. No matter what our circumstances, we can all learn tools to help us emerge from the darkest moments in our lives. In his 35 years of research,...

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Extraordinary cases of children remembering their past lives and proving it

Reincarnation is a fascinating subject that has remained on the fringe of scientific study for too long. Fortunately, it has recently begun to attract serious interest from the scientific community. Decades ago, American astronomer and astrobiologist Carl Sagan stated that "there are three claims in the field which, in my opinion, deserve serious study," with one being "that young children sometimes report details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could not have known about in any other way than reincarnation." Fast forward to today, and amazing discoveries have been made, as multiple researchers have taken it upon themselves to study this intriguing and inexplicable — at least from a materialist scientific worldview — phenomenon. Subjects like reincarnation belong to the non-material sciences, an area of research that deserves more attention....

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Personality traits are associated with cognitive resilience in older adults

Our aging brains collect tangles and sticky plaques that can interfere in our cognition and memory. But some older adults with this neuropathology have more cognitive resilience than others, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study. The reason: their personalities. Personality traits were associated with cognitive resilience, which is the ability to better live with the neuropathology in the brain that causes dementia. Individuals with a greater tendency toward self-discipline, organization, diligence, high achievement and motivation -- a trait known as higher conscientiousness -- were associated with greater resilience. ...

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Astrocytes may hold the key to why, how we sleep

Spokane, Wash. - A new study published today in the journal Current Biology suggests that star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes could be as important to the regulation of sleep as neurons, the brain's nerve cells. Led by researchers at Washington State University's Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, the study builds new momentum toward ultimately solving the mystery of why we sleep and how sleep works in the brain. The discovery may also set the stage for potential future treatment strategies for sleep disorders and neurological diseases and other conditions associated with troubled sleep, such as PTSD, depression, Alzheimer's disease, and autism spectrum disorder. "What we know about sleep has been based largely on neurons," said lead author and postdoctoral research associate Ashley Ingiosi. Neurons, she explained, communicate through electrical signals that can be readily captured through electroencephalography (EEG)....

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SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Ibn ‘Arabi’s Alchemy of Human Happiness: Interview with Stephen Hirtenstein

The philosophy and practice of alchemy, in one form or another, has been around for millennia and espoused by many different cultures, the idea centering around the chemical and physical transformation of some common ore to its highest most valuable state, gold. Modern chemistry naturally discounts this view as outdated and simply not true. But what if that is to miss the point? What if the true alchemical process has little to do with base and precious metals and everything to do man's inner state of being - and the state of his soul? One of the most important sections of Ibn Arabi's prolific Futūḥāt, the 167th chapter called 'The Alchemy of Human Happiness', focuses on this very subject. Joining us this week on MindMatters we again have the opportunity to discuss the wisdom of the Sufi master Ibn Arabi...

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At what point in its development can a human being feel pain?

Editor's note: See also Dr. Wells's earlier article, "Why Should a Baby Live?" This is Part Two of a two-part series about abortion. This part focuses on the second question I raised in Part One: At what point in its development can a human being feel pain? I will attempt to answer the question scientifically, as a developmental biologist. By "scientific" I mean based on evidence, not on materialistic story-telling or the current "scientific consensus." I will conclude with a brief personal reflection. The title of my first essay was "Why Should a Baby Live?" It was adapted from a 2012 article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?" That article cites a 1985 book co-authored by Peter Singer titled Should the Baby Live? Ten years before, Singer had published his seminal work, Animal...

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Scientists say your mind isn’t confined to your brain, or even your body

You might wonder, at some point today, what's going on in another person's mind. You may compliment someone's great mind, or say they are out of their mind. You may even try to expand or free your own mind. But what is a mind? Defining the concept is a surprisingly slippery task. The mind is the seat of consciousness, the essence of your being. Without a mind, you cannot be considered meaningfully alive. So what exactly, and where precisely, is it? Traditionally, scientists have tried to define the mind as the product of brain activity: The brain is the physical substance, and the mind is the conscious product of those firing neurons, according to the classic argument. But growing evidence shows that the mind goes far beyond the physical workings of your brain. No doubt, the brain plays an incredibly...

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