Seat of Selflessness Found in Brains of Extreme Altruists

Carl Engelking | Discover



Altruism has posed a puzzle for psychologists and evolutionary biologists for centuries. Why is it that humans will help others even to their own detriment?

A new study sheds light on the answer to that question by studying the brains of extreme altruists – people on the extreme end of the caring continuum. In this case researchers chose to study people who donated a kidney to a complete stranger. They found that not only are extreme altruists’ brains different from a normal person’s, they’re basically the opposite of a psychopath’s in one key way – indicating that a specific brain region may play an important role in people’s ability to care for one another.

Mapping a Generous Mindset

Researchers tracked down 19 healthy adults that had given a kidney to a stranger, and 20 other adults who were recruited from the local community as a control. They presented these participants with images of people making a fearful, angry and neutral facial expressions while measuring their brain activity using fMRI.

Of all the expressions, researchers were most interested in participants’ responses to fearful faces. Past studies have shown that fearful expressions elicit feelings of compassion in altruistic people. And indeed, extreme altruists showed a much higher sensitivity to fearful expressions, evidenced by higher activity in their amygdalas (the walnut-shaped part of the brain that processes emotions). What’s more, the right side of the amygdala was 8 percent larger in altruists than in people who hadn’t donated an organ, based on structural MRI data. Researchers published their findings last week inProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A Brain Dichotomy

These findings offered a stunning contrast to the team’s previous research on the brains of psychopaths. In their 2013 study, researchers showed images of pain-inducing injuries to 14 teens with psychopathic traits and to a control group. They discovered that the right amygdala in psychopaths was smaller and less active than that of a normal person. Psychopaths were also far less sensitive to other people’s pain, indicating a lower ability to feel compassion.

[read full post here]

Artists Between Mindset and Motivation

By Omar Cherif
 Artists Between Mindset and Motivation From my own experience dealing with many sorts of artists those last few years, I can deduct that a significant portion of them are afraid of failure as much as they are afraid of success. Like any kind of fear, this contains and limits them. It cripples them through their artistic journey.

The main problem with such people is that they worry too much about the outcome of their work. Be it commercializing their art, caring much about what others will think of it or how they’ll criticize it, or perhaps because they are seeking perfection, the worry does take away from their creativity. It dulls their shine and that naturally keeps them stuck in a quagmire of unaccomplishment, frustration, and lack of motivation.

But why is that so? And what’s the difference between those artists and others who “make it”?


Artsy Arty Art


Art is rebellious in nature. Apart from creativity and imagination, it’s a skill that needs guts and courage, which usually reflects on one’s lifestyle. In truth, if you have the guts to call yourself an artist, then you are one. It’s about how you perceive yourself. It’s as simple as that.

Many of the ones I have met seemed to lack the courage. They are too shy. It feels like they are afraid to shine; like they cannot believe they will make it. And this attitude shows on their behaviour and attitude. We attract what we have in mind, and if that is fear-based then what we’ll attract will be on the same frequency.

I see that such people don’t have enough self confidence — or freedom — needed to be true artists who can excel in what they do. Without shine, artists lose an essential preliminary to become stars. If one really wants to be great, he or she should stop asking for permission.

The differentiation between mindsets can sometimes be informally explained as the “starving artist” mindset and the “thriving artist” mindset (shown below). Or as the featured infograph distinguishes; successful and unsuccessful.

Artists Between Mindset and Motivation 2

The good news is, most of our limits are self-generated. Mindsets could be fixed, and the unsuccessful can become successful by changing some habits and perceptions. This Article shows how to overcome creative blocks.


Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations


To be motivated is to be moved to do something. There is a certain inspiration that energizes the act. People have different amounts of motivation towards different things. They also have different kinds of it.

Let us see what psychology has to say about that.

According to the Self-Determination Theory, there is a distinction between two different types of motivations. This is not only in arts, but in every aspect of life.

One, is the Extrinsic Motivation, which occurs when we are motivated to perform a behaviour or engage in an activity in order to earn a reward or to avoid a punishment. It is not representative of one’s self; it arises from the outside.

The traditional emphasis on external rewards such as grades, report cards, and gold stars is indoctrinated into us since birth. Whether it’s our parents, teachers, bosses or religion, we are constantly reminded that external rewards can induce interest and participation in something the individual may have no initial interest in.
How many people work just for the paycheck or pray merely out of fear of going to hell? Even more so, how many kids clean their room or study or eat their vegetables so they don’t get punished? Or those who compete in a sport or a contest to win an award or scholarship? A whole lot.

The second type is the Intrinsic Motivation. This, unlike the extrinsic, stems from within. It is self-determined. Intrinsic means it involves engaging in a behaviour because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than for some separable, external consequence like reward or pressure. Whether it involves work or play, intrinsic means motivated by inherent satisfactions such as fun, curiosity, and challenge. People with such motivation are more likely to be exposed to new ideas and to exercise new skills.





About the Author:

Omar Cherif Omar Cherif is a trilingual writer and researcher, photographer and blogger with degrees in journalism, psychology, and philosophy. After working in the corporate world for ten years, he took writing as a vocation and is currently finalizing his first book about dreams, the subconscious mind and spirituality among other topics.


You can follow Omar on here:
One Lucky Soul

And you can find more of his work on his blog and on Flickr:
One Lucky Soul



More Than Words: Saying ‘Thank You’ Does Make A Difference

The Conversation

thank youMost of us were taught that saying “thank you” is simply the polite thing to do. But recent research in social psychology suggests that saying “thank you” goes beyond good manners – it also serves to build and maintain social relationships.

This premise has its base in the find-remind-and-bind theory of gratitude, proposed by US psychologist Sara Algoe, from the University of North Carolina. According to this theory, gratitude prompts:

  • the initiation of new social relationships (a find function)
  • orients people to existing social relationships (a remind function)
  • promotes maintenance of and investment in these relationships (a bind function)

As with all emotions, gratitude can be both felt and expressed. The evidence on how feeling gratitude functions to find, remind, and bind in social relationships is robust. From promoting helping and trust to lowering aggression, feeling grateful gives rise to a wide range of outcomes that benefit both parties in a social relationship.

Turning to expressing gratitude, the existing work is relatively sparse. The evidence that does exist largely focuses on ongoing social relationships, such as those between romantic partners.

When we say ‘thank you’

It only takes a moment of reflection to realise that expressions of gratitude are not solely relegated to such ongoing social relationships.

When a stranger holds a door, when a barista hands over the morning espresso or when we step off the bus, we typically (or should!) say “thank you”.

The question becomes: how do these expressions of gratitude among strangers shape social relations? Might hearing “thank you” help us “find” new social relationships?

So my colleague Monica Y Bartlett, from Gonzaga University in Washington, US, and I carried out the first empirical test of the “find” function of expressing gratitude among strangers, with the results publishedthis month in the journal Emotion.

In the study, we sought to create a situation in the lab where we could manipulate the expression of gratitude in a realistic way. So we asked our 70 undergraduate participants to help pilot a new mentoring program supposedly run by the university.

As part of the pilot, all of our participants were to act as mentors by giving advice on a writing sample from a high-school student mentee. The writing sample was one that the mentee planned to use in their university admissions package.

This setup ensured that we satisfied one of the core starting points of gratitude – the granting of help, resources or a favour.

A week later, we brought the participants back to the lab. All participants received a note purportedly written by the high school mentee. For half of the participants – those in the control condition – this note simply acknowledged the advice.

I received your feedback through the editing program. I hope to use the paper for my college applications.

Here comes the manipulation of gratitude expression. Critically, for the other half of the participants, the note also included an expression of gratitude.

Thank you SO much for all the time and effort you put into doing that for me!

This design meant that all participants received a note – just the content of the note differed across conditions.

Participants next completed a series of questionnaires assessing their impressions of the mentee, and then were informed that the study was complete.

Except, that wasn’t quite true. The researcher casually mentioned that the pilot program organisers had left a set of notecards for mentors to complete if they chose to. The program organisers would ensure that the mentee received the note if the mentee were accepted to the university.

[read full post here]

A Brief History of Psychedelic Psychiatry

Mo Costandi | The Guardian

In the 1950s a group of pioneering psychiatrists showed that hallucinogenic drugs had therapeutic potential, but the research was halted as part of the backlash against the hippy counterculture.

On 5th May, 1953, the novelist Aldous Huxley dissolved four-tenths of a gram of mescaline in a glass of water, drank it, then sat back and waited for the drug to take effect. Huxley took the drug in his California home under the direct supervision of psychiatrist Humphry Osmond, to whom Huxley had volunteered himself as “a willing and eager guinea pig”.

Osmond was one of a small group of psychiatrists who pioneered the use of LSD as a treatment for alcoholism and various mental disorders in the early 1950s. He coined the term psychedelic, meaning ‘mind manifesting’ and although his research into the therapeutic potential of LSD produced promising initial results, it was halted during the 1960s for social and political reasons.

Born in Surrey in 1917, Osmond studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital, London. He served in the navy as a ship’s psychiatrist during World War II, and afterwards worked in the psychiatric unit at St. George’s Hospital, London, where he became a senior registrar. While at St. George’s, Osmond and his colleague John Smythies learned about Albert Hoffman’s discovery of LSD at the Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company in Bazel, Switzerland.

Osmond and Smythies started their own investigation into the properties of hallucinogens and observed that mescaline produced effects similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia, and that its chemical structure was very similar to that of the hormone and neurotransmitter adrenaline. This led them to postulate that schizophrenia was caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, but these ideas were not favourably received by their colleagues.

In 1951 Osmond took a post as deputy director of psychiatry at the Weyburn Mental Hospital in Saskatchewan, Canada and moved there with his family. Within a year, he began collaborating on experiments using LSD with Abram Hoffer. Osmond tried LSD himself and concluded that the drug could produce profound changes in consciousness. Osmond and Hoffer also recruited volunteers to take LSD and theorised that the drug was capable of inducing a new level of self-awareness which may have enormous therapeutic potential.

In 1953, they began giving LSD to their patients, starting with some of those diagnosed with alcoholism. Their first study involved two alcoholic patients, each of whom was given a single 200-microgram dose of the drug. One of them stopped drinking immediately after the experiment, whereas the other stopped 6 months later.

Several years later, a colleague named Colin Smith treated another 24 patients with LSD, and subsequently reported that 12 of them had either “improved” or “well improved” as a result of the treatment. “The impression was gained that the drugs are a useful adjunct to psychotherapy,” Smith wrote in a 1958 paper describing the study. “The results appear sufficiently encouraging to merit more extensive, and preferably controlled, trials.”

Osmond and Hoffer were encouraged, and continued to administer the drug to alcoholics. By the end of the 1960s, they had treated approximately 2,000 patients. They claimed that the Saskatchewan trials consistently produced the same results – their studies seemed to show that a single, large dose of LSD could be an effective treatment for alcoholism, and reported that between 40 and 45% of their patients given the drug had not experienced a relapse after a year.

At around the same time, another psychiatrist was carrying out similar experiments in the U.K. Ronald Sandison was born in Shetland and won a scholarship to study medicine at King’s College Hospital. In 1951, he accepted a consultant’s post at Powick Hospital near Worcester, but upon taking the position found the establishment to be overcrowded and decrepit, with patients being subjected to electroshock treatment and lobotomies.

Sandison introduced the use of psychotherapy, and other forms of therapy involving art and music. In 1952, he visited Switzerland where he also met Albert Hoffman, and was introduced to the idea of using LSD in the clinic. He returned to the U.K. with 100 vials of the drug – which Sandoz had by then named ‘Delysid’ – and, after discussing the matter with his colleagues, began treating patients with it (in addition to psychotherapy) towards the end of 1952.

Sandison and his colleagues obtained results similar to those of the Saskatchewan trials. In 1954 they reported that “as a result of LSD therapy, 14 patients recovered (av. Of 10.4 treatments)… 1 was greatly improved (3 treatments), 6 were moderately improved (av. of 2 treatments) and 2 not improved (av. of 5 treatments).”

These results drew great interest from the international mass media, and as a result, Sandison opened the world’s first purpose-built LSD therapy clinic the following year. The unit, located on the grounds of Powick Hospital, accommodated up to 5 patients who could receive LSD therapy simultaneously. Each was given their own room, equipped with a chair, sofa, and record player. Patients also came together to discuss their experiences in daily group sessions. (This backfired later, however: In 2002, the National Health Service agreed to pay a total of £195,000 in an out-of-court settlement to 43 of Sandison’s former patients.)

Meanwhile in Canada Osmond’s form of LSD therapy was endorsed by the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the director of Saskatchewan’s Bureau on Alcoholism. LSD therapy peaked in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and was widely considered to be “the next big thing” in psychiatry, which could supersede electroconvulsive therapy and psychosurgery. At one point, it was popular among Hollywood superstars such as Cary Grant.

Two forms of LSD therapy became popular. One, called psychedelic therapy, was based on Osmond and Hoffer’s work, and involved a single large dose of LSD alongside psychotherapy. Osmond and Hoffer believed that hallucinogens are beneficial therapeutically because of their ability to make patients view their condition from a fresh perspective.

The other, called psycholytic therapy, was based on Sandison’s regime of several smaller doses, increasing in size, as a adjunct to psychoanalysis. Sandison’s clinical observations led him to believe that LSD can aid psychotherapy by inducing dream-like hallucinations that reflected the patient’s unconscious mind and enabling them to relive long-lost memories.

Between the years of 1950 and 1965, some 40,000 patients had been prescribed one form of LSD therapy or another as treatment for neurosis, schizophrenia, and psychopathy. It was even prescribed to children with autism. Research into the potential therapeutic effects of LSD and other hallucinogens had produced over 1,000 scientific papers and six international conferences. But many of these early studies weren’t particularly robust, lacking control groups, for example, and likely suffered from what researchers call publication bias, whereby negative data are excluded from the final analyses.

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The Intertwining of Genius and Insanity

By Omar Cherif
The Intertwining of Genius and Insanity - "Maker" by Eugenia LoliMore than two millennia ago Aristotle said no great genius has ever existed without a touch of madness. His teacher, Plato, had discussed madness extensively and divided it into different types; mainly clinical insanity and creative insanity — the divine one which inspires seers and poets. Today, we still hear that genius borders on insanity and that every great human has a spark of madness. But how is that so? And what does insanity really mean? For a sapiosexual philomath who has been constantly called crazy by those who know him and those who don’t, I’ve been wanting to delve into that allusive topic for quite a while. So here it is.

Let us first start by the definition of the word ‘crazy’ as it appears in dictionaries. For simplicity’s sake, I will be using ‘crazy’, ‘insane’ and ‘mad’ interchangeably in this article. There are two meaning to the adjective ‘crazy’ when describing people.


1- Mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way; a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behaviour, or social interaction; seriously mentally ill.

 Mad, insane, out of one’s mind, deranged, demented, not in one’s right mind, crazed, lunatic, non compos mentis, unhinged, mad as a hatter, mad as a March hare.

Informal: Mental, nutty, nutty as a fruitcake, off one’s rocker, not right in the head, round/around the bend, raving mad, batty, bonkers, cuckoo, loopy, ditzy, loony, bananas, loco, with a screw loose, touched, gaga, not all there, out to lunch, crackers, nutso, out of one’s tree, wacko, gonzo, batshit.

2- Extremely enthusiastic.

Synonyms: Passionate about, (very) keen on, enamored of, infatuated with, smitten with, devoted to; (very) enthusiastic about, fanatical about.

Informal: Wild about, mad about, nuts about, hog-wild about, gone on.

There is an additional informal use for the word ‘mad’ commonly used in British, and it means angry or furious.


So by definition, already the term ‘crazy’ has paradoxical meanings. To be wild in an aggressive way could actually be the opposite of passionate and devoted in an enthusiastic way. Or could they?



What’s a Genius?


The word ‘genius’ originates from Latin genius, meaning guardian deity or guiding spirit (tutelary deity) which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation, wit, talent; also “prophetic skill,” originally “generative power”. The noun is related to the Latin verb genui, genitus, “to bring into being, create, produce”. This sense comes from the Latin gignere, which means “to produce,” resembling jinnī in Arabic. It lives on in today’s vocabulary with genie.

Because the achievements of exceptional individuals seemed to indicate the presence of a particularly powerful genius, by the time of Augustus the word began to acquire its secondary meaning of “inspiration, talent”. The meaning shifted from having a genius to being a genius, as someone with exceptional natural ability. This sense was commonly used in the English language by the beginning of the 17th century.


Labeling someone a genius is not about being highly intelligent. Neither is it about having an exceptionally high IQ, which many see as not an accurate way to reflect how smart a person really is since tests only measure a limited part of the total intelligence, and not the full cognitive abilities — like short-term memory, reasoning and verbal components. Some even believe high test scores have little to do with real genius because IQ is an ambiguous and controversial measure that is only considered useful in conjunction with other tests conducted by professionals.

How many times have we seen or known someone who has brilliant memory but poor reasoning, or great language skills but bad memory, or a superthinker who isn’t too eloquent with words? A lot. Such people could be intelligent who can probably easily adapt to different circumstances. But, that’s not enough for genius. Genius transcends the ‘intelligence’ label because they excel in whatever they put their mind into.

Not all intelligent people are geniuses, but all geniuses are highly intelligent. Genius, actually, has an additional talent which Einstein has called “intelligence having fun,” and that’s CREATIVITY. A genius has a creative mind that is much more imaginative and constructive than a mere intelligent person. This creativity leads to invention which is one of the essential requirements of genius. Resonating with Arthur Schopenhauer words, talent hits a target no one else can hit while genius hits a target no one else can see.

Intelligence, is defined as having the capacity for thought and reason especially to a high level, possessing sound knowledge. Linguistically speaking, the word ‘brilliant’ usually comes after it, which means having or marked by unusual and impressive intelligence. Then at the top comes genius, who is brilliant, talented, and highly creative. That’s why they hit targets no one even knows about.

Genius and Insanity
Conventional wisdom tells us that a genius is different from everyone else because they see the world through different eyes. They are those who have extraordinary intellectual ability and originality. While the exceptional intelligence is central to genius, as some of them have IQs of 140 and higher, not all geniuses score well on intelligence tests or perform well in school. As a matter of fact, many prodigy children were told by their teachers that they weren’t going to amount to anything, and they were proven wrong. This could be the case because to conform may seem stupid to a genius.

Apart from ‘higher’ brain activity, genius also entails a vigorous sense of curiosity. A genius is someone who can always see the bigger picture of things; someone who is commonly known as “ahead of their times” and who breaks new ground with their discoveries, inventions or works of art. Usually, such people’s work — creation — changes the way people view the world or the field in which the work took place. Their influence is so immense and powerful that they frequently shift paradigms.

In some cases, the recognition only comes after the person is dead. And that’s because it takes some time for others, the majority, to catch up and understand them or the genius behind their works. But generally speaking, whoever is called a genius is he who goes beyond being an intelligent person; their intellect must be coupled with the ability to use that intelligence in a productive or inspiring way.


So other than the biological differences that may be there, what’s the secret of genius? Well, it is established that one of the traits of those highly creative people is the ability to disregard unimportant and insignificant distractions. Without the distraction, they get a better opportunity to concentrate on what they are doing in their Here and Now. Whatever it is they are into, they are able to keep doing it consistently and with perseverance — with “indefatigable assiduity” — and that’s how geniuses habitually excel and achieve things no one has before. Even Einstein himself said that he has no special talent and that he is only passionately curious. And in that sense, being extremely enthusiastic and passionate, Einstein was definitely crazy, highly crazy too.

In psychology, this “disregarding the unimportant” behaviour in a creative genius is described as “little or no latent inhibition”. Meaning, they have an unconscious ability to reject unimportant or irrelevant stimuli, which naturally allows them to remain in­ contact with the extra information constantly streaming in from everywhere around them. The genius is much more conscious of their surrounding than the average Joe, they constantly observe the patterns in life and learn from them. William James considered the art of knowing what to overlook to be wisdom.

As University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson explains, “This means that the normal person classifies an object, and then forgets about it, even though that object is much more complex and interesting than he or she thinks. The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities.”







Now let us foolosophize a little, shall we. Sanity is essentially a societal concept. And just like other concepts, the average — the majority — get to form it. The average don’t like their safe world view challenged, so for them anyone who transcends their concept of sanity by acting and/or thinking differently is labeled insane, a lunatic, someone who isn’t ‘normal’ by their standards.


In reality, anyone and anything that comes from outside our norms and isn’t understood is usually deemed insane by the general population, even feared at start and considered heresy or blasphemy. Just like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, and just like the case with prophets and seers, the fear of novelty always stems from not understanding…people and/or things. Because, again, it’s the average majority that sets the standards of what is considered ‘normal’, and what is not normal, or insane. Consider the ‘Rock & Roll is the music of the devil craze in 1950s’ America as an example. Before that, it was the Wright Brothers, Columbus and Galileo among others who were looked upon as ‘insane’ for thinking outside the box. Less understanding always means more fear.

Plato had distinguished between three types of madness; rational madness, God-given madness (Theia mania), and disordered desiderative states or mental illness. Both, in the Symposium and Phaedrus, he explains that love cannot be pursued through soberness. Love is madness and philosophers are in love with wisdom; therefore, rational madness is an essential part of “the good life”. A little bit after, Aristotle concluded that all geniuses, without exception, are of a melancholy temperament.

Emphasizing on Plato’s notion, much later C.S Lewis once said that the love of knowledge is a kind of madness.


Interestingly, many of those mammoth souls were wise and humble enough to also think of themselves as fools who aren’t certain about anything but their own ignorance. For only the fool thinks he knows; only he sees the world in absolutes, and only he ceases to learn.

Insane Asylum 2

In the above list, some of the reasons for admission to insane asylums in the late 1800s where Novel reading, Politics, Religions, Tobacco and Masturbation, and Laziness. Yep. And that wasn’t aeons ago. Homosexuality was, in fact, considered a personality disorder that required medical help until 1973. This may seem funny now but can you really grasp how life and reality were different a mere 100 years ago? Today, some psychiatrists got the audacity to suggest that non-conformity is a mental illness.

That said, the concept of sanity and mental health in societies — and according to the law — keeps changing over time, and likely, that will always be so. Who knows, maybe in the next 50 years all those different folks will be celebrated instead of being diagnosed and labeled then medicated and dulled.

It’s important to note, however, that not all sorts of mental illness are not real or are not dangerous. Some of them do require medical help like those suffering from depression or bipolar disorder because they can turn to addiction and suicide if not treated. In fact, Vincent van Gogh was among those geniuses who were mentally ill; he suffered from severe depression, mutilated one of his ears in 1888, entered an asylum, then shot himself in 1890 at the age of 37 whilst painting at the height of his creative powers. That, is an example of serious illness.




About the Author:

Omar Cherif Omar Cherif is a trilingual writer and researcher, photographer and blogger with degrees in journalism, psychology, and philosophy. After working in the corporate world for ten years, he took writing as a vocation and is currently finalizing his first book about dreams, the subconscious mind and spirituality among other topics.

You can follow Omar on here:
One Lucky Soul

And you can find more of his work on his blog and on Flickr:
One Lucky Soul


Origins of Hierarchy: How Egyptian Pharaohs Rose to Power

Stephanie Pappas | Yahoo! News | Aug 11 2014

The rulers of ancient Egypt lived in glorious opulence, decorating themselves with gold and perfumes and taking their treasures with them to the grave.

But how could such a hierarchical, despotic system arise from egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies? The reasons were part technological and part geographical: In a world where agriculture was on the rise and the desert was all-encompassing, the cost of getting out from under the thumb of the pharaoh would have been too high.

“There was basically nowhere else to go,” said study author Simon Powers, a postdoctoral researcher in ecology and evolution at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. “That cost of leaving could basically lock individuals into despotism.” [Photo Gallery: Images of Egypt’s First Pharaoh]

From egalitarianism to hierarchy

Ancient Egypt is just one example of a society that transitioned from equality to hierarchy. During the Neolithic Period, often referred to as the Stone Age — which began about 10,000 years ago — agriculture began to replace hunting and gathering as the principal means for obtaining food. At the same time, societies in which everyone had been more or less equal began to schism into classes, with clear leaders emerging. In many cases, these leaders held absolute power.

Many researchers have theorized that agriculture allowed people to hoard food and resources, and that with this power, they could induce others to follow them. But no one had ever convincingly explained how the transition from no leaders to leaders could have occurred, Powers told Live Science. If everyone in hunter-gatherer societies was more or less equal in strength or resources to start, why would they allow an individual to dominate in the first place? [Dictator Deaths: How 13 Notorious Leaders Died]

To find out, Powers created a computer model filled with individuals who had their own preferences for egalitarianism or hierarchy. In the model, as in life, the more resources an individual possessed, the more offspring they could have. In the simulations, populations would sometimes gain a voluntary leader — though the next generation down the line could choose to break off from that leader, at a cost of some resources. (Leaders’ children did not defect, given that they stood to inherit their parents’ wealth.)

The simulations revealed that voluntary leadership arises when leaders give enough benefits to their followers at the outset, Powers said. If leaders give their people an advantage in producing food, the people will follow them, he added.

From leaders to despots

But leadership turns to despotism when two factors arise. The first is the growth of population density and size, which follows naturally from an organized, agricultural society.

“It basically becomes hard for individuals to stop following the leader,” Powers said. “As the density of the population grows, there is less free land available.”

This leads to the second factor: a feedback loop. With the benefits of leadership, subjects get more resources and thus are able to have more children. These children increase the population size and density, leading to even less free land and fewer opportunities to leave.

However, if the cost of leaving the group is low — perhaps because there’s a friendly city nearby to join, or open land an easy journey away — despotism can’t arise. People simply leave when a leader becomes too powerful.

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Codependency: What Being Addicted to Someone Means

By Omar Cherif
Codependency: What Being Addicted to Someone MeansI was speaking to someone recently about random things when he told me that he was addicted to his girlfriend. A few days later, I came across a psychology article about codependency. And since the topic of addiction interests me, and I don’t know much about this one type, I thought I would dig into it to learn more.





Codependency is sometimes referred to as relationship addiction. It may not be the easiest to define, so here are three definitions, which are a mix and match from what I found online:

A psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition — typically narcissism or addiction.

In broader terms, codependency is also defined as “an emotional, psychological, and behavioral condition which develops as a result of an individual’s prolonged exposure to, and practice of, a set of oppressive rules.”

And in simpler terms, it is excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.




So, codependents revolve their lives around the problems of others – be it alcoholism or addiction to drugs, food, work or sex; or possibly a narcissistic boss at the workplace. It could also be a family member with a mental or physical illness.

By placing a lower priority on their own needs, codependent people depend on the needs of, or control by, the other person. They keep themselves excessively preoccupied with a child, or with someone who has a problem like a partner, parent, or coworker. Codependency occurs in any type of relationship, including family, friendship, work, and also romantic, peer or community relationships.

Like other types of addictions, codependency can be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, and excessive compliance or control patterns. Naturally, such people often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally and psychologically destructive and/or abusive.

There are two subtypes of codependency; they can be passive or active or some degrees of both.
Passive, meaning they can be people-pleasing, and those are usually fearful and avoidant of conflict. Active, means the bolder and controlling type who tries to manipulate the other.

Interestingly, because of the secret and hidden nature of their control strategies, passive codependents are perceived as more manipulative than active ones.


In addictive relationships, behaviours, thoughts, and feelings go beyond normal level of self-sacrifice or care-taking. Parenting, for example, is quite a responsibility which requires a fair degree of self-sacrifice and giving a child’s needs a high priority; a parent, however, could still be codependent towards his/her own children if the parental sacrifice and care-taking reached unhealthy or destructive levels.

Generally speaking, a parent who takes care of his/her own needs — emotional and physical — in a healthy way will be a better caretaker; whereas a codependent parent may be less effective, or may even do harm to a child by crippling them with their extra attention and overprotectiveness. To look at it differently and as written in some of the sources I consulted, the needs of an infant are necessary but temporary, whereas the needs of the codependent are constant.


People who are codependent often take on the role of the overprotective mama hen. They neglect themselves and constantly put others’ needs — like health, welfare, and safety — before their own, so they forget to take care of themselves; they lose contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of individuality. They simply forget who they are at the core as lose their personal identity in others and their problems.

For the codependent, the thought of being alone with no one needing them seems unacceptable. They often feel an intense anxiety around interpersonal relationships, and this preoccupation sort of convinces them that they are “needed.” They are addicted to helping others, they need to be needed. Dedicating themselves to the needs and wants of others makes them feel safe. The validation is received through the feeling of being needed and through seeing themselves as saviours.

This validation is one of the main reasons codependents have a hard time leaving the toxic relationships they are attracted to, even when they are clearly unsatisfactory. They are often locked into a cycle of trying to save their partner or the relationship over and over again, waiting for that “one day.” This act, though, keeps feeding their self esteem, which is naturally low. Such relationships can last for some time, but eventually they become unsustainable due the exhaustion of the helper’s physical, emotional, or financial resources. Expectedly, they also cause tension, anxiety, and resentment.


Codependents find that their happiness depends upon another person, a relationship, or finding the right partner. They focus their thinking and behaviour around someone they cannot control, which naturally leads them to unhappiness.

When codependents get into arguments they tend to assume the victim mentality — the poor little me mindset. The times they do stand up for themselves, they feel guilty about it.

Therapists believe that by trying to constantly control, hide and regulate, codependents become part of the pattern, so their very existence reinforces the behaviour of the other. Sometimes, the addiction is so strong that the ‘help’ the codependent believes is offering ends up by causing the other person to continue to be needy by supporting and enabling their addiction, or the underachievement or the poor physical or mental health. This behaviour is called ‘enabling’.

In the case of alcoholics and addicts for example, enabling can indeed be the reason why they stay addicted.

In some cases, when the addict recovers, codependents may move on to other relationships and undertake the saviour role again, looking for new validation and appreciation for their efforts.


According to Mental Health America the following are characteristics of codependency:

  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
  • A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
  • A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
  • An extreme need for approval and recognition
  • A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
  • A compelling need to control others
  • Lack of trust in self and/or others
  • Fear of being abandoned or alone
  • Difficulty identifying feelings
  • Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
  • Problems with intimacy/boundaries
  • Chronic anger
  • Lying/dishonesty
  • Poor communications
  • Difficulty making decisions




About the Author:

Omar Cherif Omar Cherif is a trilingual writer and researcher, photographer and blogger with degrees in journalism, psychology, and philosophy. After working in the corporate world for ten years, he took writing as a vocation and is currently finalizing his first book about dreams, the subconscious mind and spirituality among other topics.

You can follow Omar on here:
One Lucky Soul

And you can find more of his work on his blog and on Flickr:
One Lucky Soul


Pain: Real, Or All In Your Head? Neuroscience Explains

Luis R. Valadez | Waking Times

Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air. We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.” ~C. Joybell

Do you remember growing up, going to the doctor’s office to get a vaccine shot —only to be crippled by the thought of having a sharp needle stuck in you? But for some strange reason, when your doctor took your attention off of the shot and onto whatever they were saying; the pain of the needle became unnoticeable. Now did the pain magically go away with your doctor’s kind words or is it that pain goes beyond just the physical sensation attached to it? Neuroscience is illustrating for the world, that perhaps pain is more bio-psychological than we had previously thought. In fact, pain is more in your head than you ever realized.

The Different Types of Pain Explained

We first need to understand that there are different types of pain and how we perceive them is varied as well. For example, there is a difference between tissue-damage pain and the pain associated with a broken heart. Both feel just as intense as the other, the major difference is the origin of the pain and how your neurons interpret the pain associated with the stimulus.

Edwin S. Shneidman PhD, founder of the American Association of Suicidology, explains that the majority of pain, even physical pain has its roots in the body’s need for help. Dr. Shneidman goes on to say that the sensation of pain is a combination of physiological processes and psychological needs. Needs such as the need for love, freedom, achievement or even the need to avoid embarrassment, shame, and harm.

Another element that contributes to how you feel pain and the reason we all experience it slightly differently, is which needs take priority within our personal lives. Harvard University Psychologist Henry Murray enlightened the psychological community by explaining that there are no concrete forms expressing the caliber of someone’s pain. The only legitimate method is by gauging someone’s reactions to pain and what they have to say about what they are feeling. Henry Murray goes on to say that this phenomenon occurs because each one of us rates our psychological needs differently. Meaning, what is the most important need for me (emotional need) may not be the most important need for you (financial need), thus the reason in differing levels of pain.

Another factor that plays into how you perceive pain is your childhood and the experiences of pain as a child. Think about it, if you had never experienced pain before, you would be devastated the first time you broke a bone because you wouldn’t have the gained wisdom on how to deal with said pain. The same happens if a child is exposed to pain consistently and then reinforced by a negative emotion. This leads to two different types of pain sensitizations.

Peripheral Sensitization

This type of pain sensitivity has to deal with the inflammation or damage to your bodily tissue. For example, when you get a cut on your finger, you are experiencing peripheral sensitization. During this process, there is a change in the transduction proteins, which are the carriers of messages that affect the nociceptors, or the receptors of your body’s sensory neurons. When you burn your finger, the stimulus is transformed into electrical signals which are then carried throughout your nervous system and up to your brain via these proteins.

Central Sensitization

During this type of pain something different happens in people: instead of originating from bodily harm, this pain can manifest itself without tissue damage. What happens is that the neurons in your central nervous system become excited more easily —resulting in feeling pain for much longer periods of time and much more easily. The pain that would normally subside after the initial stimulus still lingers around, eventually leading to chronic pain.

The Mind-Body Connection To Pain

Many doctors believe that disorders such as Fibromyalgia; where the patient has nothing physiologically wrong with them, can be tied back to central sensitization. I spoke with the former President of the Austin Pain Society, Dr. Brannon Frank, in order to better understand the mind and pain connection. After several discussions about single-case patients, Dr. Frank explained to me that the majority of his patients that come complaining of chronic stress usually begins with a life story.

Whereas athletes and other patients who have recently suffered tissue damage can immediately pinpoint the exact origin of pain and typically explain the situation behind the accident. Fibromyalgia patients and others suffering from chronic pain paint a picture of great emotional distress. Dr. Frank goes on to tell me that more often than not, the patients suffering from severe chronic pain, tell the story of their lives where they recently divorced, lost a loved one, or are undergoing severe depression.

This is a real life example of how pain is not just in the body, but in the mind of the beholder. So the next time you find yourself battling chronic pain or a bad back, before you run to your physical therapist — take a long and hard look at your life. Are you suffering from the loss of something valuable in your life or are you genuinely physically hurt? The answer won’t be easy or completely obvious, but I can tell you this much, how you react to the pain makes all the difference. It truly, may be all in your head.

To Learn More About Pain (References):

Journal of The American Physical Therapy Association: https://ptjournal.apta.org/content/91/5/700.long

US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7702468

US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9188037

Karen Byfield | Mental Health Advocate (original publication)

About the Author: As an American Author and Research Psychologist, the two aspects in life I value most are: humanity and self-improvement. I make it my goal and life’s work to illuminate the secrets of the mind and our potential to every thirsty man and woman. For when given water to grow, we humans prosper. Aside from my love of moving the human spirit — I also research and rejoice in the fields of neuroscience, historical arts, and quantum mechanics.

How Facial Features Drive our First Impressions

Jonathan Webb |  BBC

face readingWhether it’s a curled lip or a keen cheekbone, we all make quick social judgements based on strangers’ faces.

Now scientists have modelled the specific physical attributes that underpin our first impressions.

Small changes in the dimensions of a face can make it appear more trustworthy, dominant or attractive.

The results, published in the journal PNAS, could help film animators or anyone looking to create an instant impression on a social network.

Dr Tom Hartley, a neuroscientist at the University of York and the study’s senior author, said the work added mathematical detail to a well-known phenomenon.

“If people are forming these first impressions, just based on looking at somebody’s face, what is it about the image of the face that’s giving that impression – can we measure it exactly?”

Three key dimensions of a first impression

  • Approachability: how likely is this person to help (or hinder) me?
  • Dominance: how capable is this person of carrying out those intentions?
  • Attractiveness: is this person young and good looking – a potential romantic partner?

Positive first impressions are especially important in a world dominated by social media, from LinkedIn to Tinder.

Dr Hartley sees the commercial potential in applying his numerical model to the photos people use to present themselves online. “It’s obviously potentially very useful,” he told the BBC.

To make the calculations, each of 1,000 face photos from the internet was shown to at least six different people, who gave it a score for 16 different social traits, like trustworthiness or intelligence.

Overall, these scores boil down to three main characteristics: whether a face is (a) approachable, (b) dominant, and (c) attractive.

By measuring the physical attributes of all 1,000 faces and putting them together with those scores, Dr Hartley and his team built a mathematical model of how the dimensions of a face produce those three impressions.

The next step was to get the computer to extrapolate. Using their new model, the team produced cartoon versions of the most (and least) approachable, dominant and attractive faces – as well as all the possibilities in between.

Example faces
Six faces and their computerised approximations, including study author Dr Tom Hartley (second from left)
John Humphrys
The same treatment given to the Today programme’s John Humphrys
Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

You could use these kind of numbers to decide when is a good time to take a photograph, or to choose the photograph that’s really optimal in putting forward the best possible impression”

Dr Tom HartleyUniversity of York

Finally, and most importantly, these cartoon results could be tested. When the researchers quizzed more participants about their impressions of the artificial, cartoon faces, the ratings matched. People said that the computer’s cartoon prediction of an approachable face was, indeed, approachable – and so on.

[read full post here]

The Creativity Pill

James Hamblin | TheAtlantic.com | July 17 2014

Neurologist Rivka Inzelberg recently noticed that her patients with Parkinson’s disease seemed to be authoring more novels than older people tend to author.

Looking closer, poems and paintings also seemed to be pouring out of afflicted patients, in a relative sense—specifically those treated with a synthetic dopamine-precursor pill, levodopa (L-DOPA).

So Inzelberg, a professor at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, asked around. She wasn’t the only one in her field to have noticed as much. She examined the correlation in a comprehensive 2013 review study, which found creative thinking in medicated Parkinson’s patients to be higher than in their unaffected peers.

This week she published new research that breaks down the relationship in the journal Annals of Neurology, and whether the observed creativity—which she defines as a combination of originality, flexibility, and inclination to combine novel and practical ideas—might be due to obsessive tendencies.

“Because the medication can cause a loss of impulse control—let’s say, obsessive painting, obsessive hobby-ism—we wanted to check if there was a correlation between creativity measures and impulsivity and compulsivity measures,” Inzelberg told me by phone from Israel. (She very courteously warned me that she may have to hang up abruptly to take shelter if a missile alarm goes off, as has been happening at her Tel Aviv medical center. “Would it be better to talk later?” I asked, dumbly. “There is no later. This is how we’re living.”)

Development of uncontrollable artistic urges has been documented in medical case studies. One 41-year-old woman with Parkinson’s disease who began taking levodopa developed what neurologists called a “devastating addiction to painting.” Her home became a gathering place for artists, and she began compulsively buying painting materials. She described the spiral earlier this year in a medical journal: “I started painting from morning till night, and often all through the night until morning. I used countless numbers of brushes at a time. I used knives, forks, sponges … I would gouge open tubes of paint–it was everywhere. But I was still in control at that point. Then, I started painting on the walls, the furniture, even the washing machine. I would paint any surface I came across. I also had my ‘expression wall’ and I could not stop myself from painting and repainting [it] every night in a trance-like state. My partner could no longer bear it. People close to me realized that I crossed some kind of line into the pathological, and, at their instigation, I was hospitalized. Today, my doctors have succeeded in getting my medication under control, and my creativity has become more tranquil and structured.”

So Inzelberg’s current study tested for symptoms of impulse control disorder, as well as creativity—which it did in a variety of ways. One exam asked people to mention as many different words beginning with a certain letter and in a certain category as possible. In a remote association test, people were given three words and had to name a fourth. Another test required interpretation of abstract images and assessed imaginative answers to questions like, “What can you do with sandals?” Subjects were also asked to interpret novel metaphors.

In the end, there was no relationship between the creativity Inzelberg has been noticing and any degree of compulsive behavior.

The patients with Parkinson’s disease did significantly better than their unafflicted peers in terms of verbal and visual creativity, divergent thinking and combinational novelty.

“We also found that patients taking higher doses of dopaminergic medication had more creative answers,” Inzelberg said.

“These results support a genuine change in neuropsychological processes underlying creativity,” the Annals study concluded. That’s of interest not just to Parkinson’s patients, but an entire field of neurobiology grasping at an understanding of the chemical processes that fuel the so-desired trait.

A possible mechanism mediating the relationship between dopamine and creativity is known as novelty-seeking behavior, a tendency linked to neural areas like the ventral striatum, substantia nigra, and hippocampus, that are especially modulated by dopamine. It has been proposed that an increased in novelty seeking only occurs in Parkinson’s patients with impulse-control disorder, though, which this study did not find, suggesting that creativity is not (solely) an expression of obsessive creative drive or enhanced productivity brought about by medication.

Another proposed mechanism lies in the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain that moderates a person’s ability to filter out irrelevant stimuli. That is called latent inhibition, and it has been associated with creative achievement. It is reduced in people suffering psychosis but it increases when those people are given antipsychotic medications. Reduced latent inhibition might enhance divergent thinking by widening (or loosening) the associative network, enhancing creative thinking.

“It is actually the other side of the coin,” Inzelberg said, “that when people are psychotic they think faster and might have less inhibition about extravagant ideas.”

Vincent van Gogh had psychotic spells, she noted, during which he painted masterpieces. Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf, among other great writers, seem to have had bipolar disorder, which is now treated with medication that blocks dopamine.

Keep reading the article

Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People

The Internet is sadists' playground.

The Internet is sadists’ playground.

By Chris Mooney | Slate.com

Internet trolls are narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic.

In the past few years, the science of Internet trollology has made some strides. Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called Internet trolls (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.

That’s bad, but it’s nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of trolls themselves. The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).

It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.

Read the rest of the article…

ALSO READ: I Was a Paid Internet Shill: How Shadowy Groups Manipulate Internet Opinion and Debate

The Psychology of Being a “Non-Conspiracy Theorist”

Bernie Suarez | Activistpost | Jan 21st 2014

Psychology Non-Conspiracy TheoristThere is a brand of people amongst us. They have no name but they exist. They are everywhere, at work, at home, at school, and in the streets, stores, and shopping malls. It is highly unlikely to not know someone who belongs in this category. It’s the so called non-conspiracy theorists. You know, the guy who tries to terminate conversations by alleging that you are nothing more than a “conspiracy theorist” and the information you share is false or not believable. Yes, that guy. Let’s meet face to face with your typical non-conspiracy theorist. We all know them, they often are the ones who hold the “conspiracy” verbal accusation as a valid logically defined argument in and of itself. The logic works like this:

Conspiracy theorist says: “You are claiming that fire alone can cause a building to self-implode, descend at freefall speed into its own footprint? That’s physically impossible, what about Newton’s Laws and laws of thermal dynamics and such? “

Non-conspiracy theorist says: “No, you are wrong because you are a conspiracy theorist.”

And with that, often the non-conspiracy theorist will walk away. What’s happening? They had nothing to elaborate on, so the non-conspiracy theorist – whose thinking is engineered and controlled by government, mainstream media and Hollywood entertainment – resorted to a socially engineered answer. For this reason it is fascinating to explore the mindset and psychology of the individuals who take this position in place of a logical stance.

Core defect and twisted meanings

By definition, conspiracy means a group of two or more people secretly plotting (or conspiring) a harmful (or evil) deed against another person(s). This behavior is part of human nature. Humans have been conspiring against each other since the beginning of time. There was a never a time in world history when such an elementary behavior (of conspiring against an enemy) did not exist. Can you find a period in history when a certain human emotional trait or action didn’t exist? Was there a time when the human genome didn’t express jealousy, game playing, free trading, rage, or happiness? As odd or ridiculous as this may sound, non-conspiracists unknowingly subscribe to this logic. If evidence points to a conspired crime, why not treat it as such? Why demonize the very concept of conspiring? This is a core defect in the thought process of non-conspiracy theorists. You can easily identify them by their speech.
What the non-conspiracy theorist doesn’t see is that the battlefield is right before them and they have outsourced all critical thought and action to a government thinking service known as mass media. Like being on the football field while the ball is in play, without realizing what is happening. You see people waving at you in the stands to get out of the way, but you don’t understand what they are saying so you continue walking on the field with your headset on. Likewise, non-conspiracy theorists perceive all logic and reason arguments and warnings made by the conspiracy theorist as noise. They don’t understand the warning and so they continue living and carrying on with what they are doing. Like the person on the field not understanding the warning being communicated by those in the stands, non-conspiracy theorists cannot receive the basic signals of logic and reason.

The headsets adding to the confusion is like the TV and mainstream media news. Since they themselves refuse to look at the evidence, they put their faith in the government and in the mass corporate establishment to safely guide them in their reality. They gain a sense of psychological protection from this overall system. Since the information being believed is almost always artificial they need to hear their own opinions repeated to them by the voices on TV so they can confirm (and re-confirm) their own belief system to themselves to be legitimate. At no point will the non-conspiracy theorist plan a day of research or dedicate a few hours every once in a while to research the topic or put any thought into issues.

Information and world problems are but one category in a shelf of categories that make up their lives. The non-conspiracy theorist ignores that government has always implemented social engineering and mass mind control on the general public. In order for the non-conspiracy theorist to confidently walk away from someone who challenges their belief system with scientific facts, they need to have a sustained comfort and assurance that what government and mainstream media is saying is true.

Maintaining the non-conspiracy delusion

The non-conspiracy theorist is thus profoundly psychologically interconnected with today’s mass mind control paradigm. They are a species representing a full byproduct of 21st-century social engineering. The doctrine of this type of social engineering programs its believers to believe that when government and media accuses someone of “conspiracies” then this accusation is cause for someone being considered diseased. The symptoms being paranoia. But paranoia is based on systematized delusions and delusions are based on false beliefs. A proper exploring of meanings brings us back to proving what is true or false. We come full circle and the spin is over. Non-conspiracy theorists don’t realize they dwell in this circle of misapplied words, never exploring the meanings or doing the work to determine what is true and what is provable.

Non-conspiracy theorists therefore wake up every morning and reach for the mental orientation map known as mainstream media news. Without it they would be disoriented, as they would not know what to believe. They actually believe that if anyone was guilty of wrongdoing at the highest level of government someone would speak out every time and everyone would know about it. They ignore that state secrets are the norm and government operations are conducted in secret. They ignore the consequences each individual at the government and military level faces for blowing the whistle. Despite these consequences many individuals at government level still risk it all and do blow the whistle on government. Despite all this, the idea of maintaining State secrecy is a myth to non-conspiracy theorists. The idea that government would do something immoral, nefarious or criminal is a fiction as well to the non-conspiracy theorist.

The history of war, corruption, tyranny and fascism is incidental, coincidental, insignificant and irrelevant to the non-conspiracy theorist. None of these should be used to gauge the events of our times since history is a thing of the past. Non-conspiracy theorists choose not to connect the historical dots. According to them, there is nothing to learn from the history of tyranny and totalitarianism. Anyone attempting to connect the dots is likely a conspiracy theorist. This goes hand in hand with the logic defect we discussed earlier. As the earlier case of the conspiracy theorist having his scientific arguments debunked by virtue of simply being diseased with the accusation of conspiracy theorist. Note, the non-conspiracy theorists use the name as a loaded, proven concept with power to permanently label someone diseased. In this case, attempting to connect the dots automatically tags you as a conspiracy theorist.

As far as non-conspiracy theorists are concerned, all critical thought is deferred to the authorities. The scientists do their work and then report the facts to the government and mainstream media who carefully announce to the masses what they should know. Any scientists who speak out and claim to have evidence contradicting government claims must first be endorsed and approved by the mainstream media and government. Without this approval the scientists are marginalized no matter how large their numbers are. Without these ridiculous rules the delusion of being a non-conspiracy theorists cannot be maintained. This is the psychology of tyranny. Tyranny and totalitarianism cannot be implemented without mass mind control. This dangerous group-think mentality will ignore all warning signs to help continue advancing the agenda. And so the non-conspiracy theorist is the most important instrument for maintaining control of the masses. Without these non-conspiracy theorist vessels of the global empire, the plan would not be possible.

It is quite possible that years from now the concept of conspiracy will return back to where it belongs right next to other concepts like jealousy, laughter, love, stealing, fighting, friendship, hatred and other human expressions that define who we are. By then perhaps being a friendship theorist, a stealing theorist or a jealousy theorist will be the new propaganda bogey monster term. Or perhaps years from now we will be sick and tired of this vicious cycle of physical and mental slavery. Perhaps people will truly have enough of the control system and will have abolished it by then.

Standing by truth

I am thrilled to be considered a “conspiracy theorist” by those still controlled by the social engineering experiments of the last one hundred or so years. We are proof that humans are able to critically think on their own and prefer to be free. We are the embodiment of the resistance, we never run from challenges and debates, we recreated the media and are responsible for the progressive death of the mainstream media. We choose to give humanity a voice outside of the socially engineered control system. We rely on firsthand accounts, physical evidence consistent with natural laws, factual documents, common sense, high probability, and forensic scientific evidence before jumping to conclusions. We do not rely on name calling to give strength to our position and we stand as a reminder that the human mind will never be completely contained. Unraveling the reality we face became normal for us at some point and the information the non-conspiracy theorists consider scary is common news to those of us name called “conspiracy theorists”.

In order to be considered a conspiracy theorist by the non-conspiracy theorists you must believe that government is corrupt. Believing that others are corrupt does not get you the title automatically. The list of what qualifies someone as a conspiracy theorist has been changing rapidly and today is determined by mainstream media and government in real time. Today, only government and mainstream media gets to decide who qualifies as a conspiracy theorist. The thought process of the non-conspiracy theorist is thus predictable and automated because the agenda being followed by government and mass media is predictable. The mindset is: no research required if Associated Press, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN or NPR doesn’t agree to report it, then all other sources must be false. This shines a light into the thought process of non-conspiracy theorists.

Impact on humanity

How creepy does all this sound? We often take for granted the thought process required to make someone believe how they believe and the (mainstream media believing) non-conspiracy theorist mentality is quietly as culpable for the condition of the world today as the individuals who actually carry out the crimes that have put us where we are. Little to no effort is put by non-conspiracy theorists to learn about their own social mindsets, social engineering, group-think, and government propaganda and mind-control history.

The non-conspiracy theorists are thus arguably indirectly ushering in many of the religious and cultural prophesies of the end times and the predictions of the doomsday prophets. They are proving to be key vessels in the events that are to come. They have already carved their mark in history as supporters of the global empire. Everyone who has played a role in supporting the global empire of the U.S. has already left their mark. Let’s all wait and see how this mental defect will play itself out and what role these non-conspiracy theorists will play in ushering in the final pieces of the global government. Will they be rewarded? Will they support the extermination of all critical thinkers? Will it turn out the non-conspiracy theorists were expressing an alternate DNA or is this idea too far out? Will it turn out they were all part of a larger experiment? Will the final waking up process or critical mass be stomped out by this core of non-conspiracy theorists who blindly believe government-programmed lies? Or will they be responsible for delaying critical mass by a certain amount of time.

These and many other questions will be answered in the next few years/decades. Let us not forget the layers of defective logic and blind faith in government required to be considered a non-conspiracy theorist. It sounds bizarre but it’s true. It’s been said that in times of mass deceit that telling the truth is a revolutionary act; this has never been more apparent. Want to make an impact on others? Want to be a giant among men? Then tell the truth and watch the sheep run. There is so much deceit in today’s world that if you blindly reverse everything government and mainstream media says, just by default you would be closer to truth than if you believed even some of what they say.

Remember the non-conspiracy theorist who says “someone would have spoken out”? We’ve all heard this excuse. Of course, someone always does speak out; only they call those who speak out, no matter how high in government they are, conspiracy theorists, instead of someone who is speaking out or blowing the whistle. It’s time to memorialize the web of non-logic that qualifies a non-conspiracy theorist and not take for granted what these individuals mean to our battle for freedom and what key role they will play in the final lockdown of what was once a beacon for freedom throughout the world. Even as each of us carries on every day it’s difficult to fathom how the average person you come across who is a non-conspiracy theorist is having such a massive impact on millions of people globally and the direction of humanity as a whole including the overall survival of the human race.

Bernie Suarez is an activist, critical thinker, radio host, musician, M.D, Veteran, lover of freedom and the Constitution, and creator of the Truth and Art TV project. He also has a background in psychology and highly recommends that everyone watch a documentary titled The Century of the Self. Bernie has concluded that the way to defeat the New World Order is to truly be the change that you want to see. Manifesting the solution and putting truth into action is the very thing that will defeat the globalists.

More from Activistpost

What You Think Is Right May Actually Be Wrong – Here’s Why

Peter Ellerton | PhysOrg | Jan 20th 2014

spychWe like to think that we reach conclusions by reviewing facts, weighing evidence and analysing arguments. But this is not how humans usually operate, particularly when decisions are important or need to be made quickly.

What we usually do is arrive at a conclusion independently of conscious reasoning and then, and only if required, search for reasons as to why we might be right.

The first process, drawing a conclusion from evidence or facts, is called inferring; the second process, searching for reasons as to why we might believe something to be true, is called rationalising.

Rationalise vs infer

That we rationalise more than we infer seems counter-intuitive, or at least uncomfortable, to a species that prides itself on its ability to reason, but it is borne out by the work of many researchers, including the US psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman (most recently in his book Thinking Fast and Slow).

We tend to prefer conclusions that fit our existing world-view, and that don’t require us to change a pleasant and familiar narrative. We are also more inclined to accept these conclusions, intuitively leaping to them when they are presented, and to offer resistance to conclusions that require us to change or seriously examine existing beliefs.

There are many ways in which our brains help us to do this.

Consider global warming

Is global warming too difficult to understand? Your brain makes a substitution for you: what do you think of environmentalists? It then transfers that (often emotional) impression, positive or negative, to the issue of global warming and presents a conclusion to you in sync with your existing views.

Your brain also helps to make sense of situations in which it has minimal data to work with by creating associations between pieces of information.

If we hear the words “refugee” and “welfare” together, we cannot help but weave a narrative that makes some sort of coherent story (what Kahneman calls associative coherence). The more we hear this, the more familiar and ingrained the narrative. Indeed, the process of creating a coherent narrative has been shown to be more convincing to people than facts, even when the facts behind the narrative are shown to be wrong (understood as the perseverance of social theories and involved in theBackfire Effect).

Now, if you are a politician or a political advisor, knowing this sort of thing can give you a powerful tool. It is far more effective to create, modify or reinforce particular narratives that fit particular world-views, and then give people reasons as to why they may be true, than it is to provide evidence and ask people to come to their own conclusions.

It is easier to help people rationalise than it is to ask them to infer. More plainly, it is easier to lay down a path for people to follow than it is to allow them to find their own. Happily for politicians, this is what our brains like doing.

How politicians frame issues

This can be done in two steps. The first is to frame an issue in a way that reinforces or modifies a particular perspective. The cognitive scientist George Lakoff highlighted the use of the phrase “tax relief” by the American political right in the 1990s.

Consider how this positions any debate around taxation levels. Rather than taxes being a “community contribution” the word “relief” suggests a burden that should be lifted, an unfair load that we carry, perhaps beyond our ability to bear.

The secret, and success, of this campaign was to get both the opposing parties and the media to use this language, hence immediately biasing any discussion.

Interestingly, it was also an initiative of the American Republican party to rephrase the issue of “global warming” into one of “climate change”, which seemed more benign at the time.

Immigration becomes security

In recent years we have seen immigration as an issue disappear, it is now framed almost exclusively as an issue of “national security”. All parties and the media now talk about it in this language.

Once the issue is appropriately framed, substitution and associations can be made for us. Talk of national security allows us to talk about borders, which may be porous, or even crumbling. This evokes emotional reactions that can be suitably manipulated.

Budgets can be “in crisis” or in “emergency” conditions, suggesting the need for urgent intervention, or rescue missions. Once such positions are established, all that is needed are some reasons to believe them.

The great thing about rationalisation is that we get to select the reasons we want – that is, those that will support our existing conclusions. Our confirmation bias, a tendency to notice more easily those reasons or examples that confirm our existing ideas, selects just those reasons that suit our purpose. The job of the politician, of course, is to provide them.

Kahneman notes that the more familiar a statement or image, the more it is accepted. It is the reason that messages are repeatedad nauseam, and themes are paraphrased and recycled in every media appearance. Pretty soon, they seem like our own.

How to think differently

So what does this mean for a democracy in which citizens need to be independent thinkers and autonomous actors? Well, it shows that the onus is not just on politicians to change their behaviour (after all, one can hardly blame them for doing what works), but also on us to continually question our own positions and judgements, to test ourselves by examining our beliefs and recognising rationalisation when we engage in it.

More than this, it means public debate, through the media in particular, needs to challenge preconceptions and resist the trend to simple assertion. We are what we are, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work better with it.

This story is published courtesy of The Conversation (under Creative Commons-Attribution/No derivatives).

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