Latest Entries »

Latte pappas

Resultado de imagem para Photo courtesy Johan Bävman from his series 'Swedish Dads'.

Photo courtesy Johan Bävman from his series ‘Swedish Dads’.

Sweden’s hands-on dads represent an alternate male form forged by lowered testosterone and the potent hormones of attachment

Richard W Orange is a freelance journalist who reports for the UK’s Daily Telegraph and The Observer newspapers. He has worked as a foreign correspondent in India and Kazakhstan, and as a business reporter in London. He lives in Malmö, Sweden. 

‘Something happens to the men who come here,’ says Lisa Lindell, observing the first arrivals at her drop-in centre for new parents in Malmö, Sweden. One, a straggly haired Israeli scientist, has built a perfect pyramid out of Play-Doh for his daughter. A Swedish restaurant manager is sprawled on the floor as his son presents him with various objects.

‘We think it’s a revolution,’ her colleague Karin Hallback Stigendal chimes in. ‘These daddies here, they’re very much closer to their feelings. They couldn’t harm another person. Children will change their minds, and that will be good for our society.’

Sweden is leading the fight for gender-equal parenting ­– men here get three months of paid, use-it-or-lose it paternity leave for each baby (in fact, many take more) – and Lisa and Karin are its warm, welcoming stormtroopers. Since they started trying to lure dads to their centre a decade ago, numbers have grown steadily until, recently, the fathers began to outnumber the mothers.

‘My patience levels have sky-rocketed,’ reports the restaurant manager. ‘There’s not so much “me” in focus any more. It’s all “him” now.’

The scientist hasn’t noticed much change, but as we bond over having given our daughters the same rare Nordic name, I’m struck by something about the way he is standing, his one-year-old perched on a stuck out hip.  He’s one of a legion of Sweden’s ‘latte pappas’, as the country’s legion of scruffy men with prams are known. I’ve been one myself, taking six months off twice over the past four years to be the main carer for my daughter and then son. One afternoon in the playground, I began to notice the high, exaggerated voices many of my latte pappa acquaintances used with their babies – clear ‘motherese’.

I felt compelled to find out if I was imagining it, and quickly discovered an explosion of new research demonstrating the dramatic impact that fatherhood has on men’s hormones – along with their affect and talent for staying attuned. A 2011 longitudinal study of 624 Filipino men showed evening testosterone dropping by a median of 34 per cent in the first month after becoming fathers (the most extreme case saw a drop of 75 per cent). Levels of oxytocin, the so-called ‘cuddle hormone’, almost double in fathers between the time the mothers become pregnant and the first months of fatherhood. Prolactin, the hormone that triggers lactation in women, was almost a fifth higher in fathers of infants than in non-fathers. Fatherhood also physically alters the brain. In a 2014 study, researchers scanned men’s brains in the first month after their children were born, and then again after the fourth month. It turned out that gray matter grew in areas linked to reward, attachment and complex decision-making.

These are the changes recorded in countries such as the United States, Canada and the Philippines, where mothers still do most of the childcare. But could the impact be even greater in Sweden, where men like me often take six months or more off work to be the primary carer for their babies? According to Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg, who pioneered research into oxytocin at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden’s medical university, no one has tried to find out. ‘This is a unique experiment that we are performing right now,’ and the consequences might be profound.

Lee Gettler, director of the Hormones, Health, and Human Behavior Lab at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and the lead author on the Philippines study, suspects that Swedish fathers might be further along the spectrum than the fathers he has studied  – truly hormonally and temperamentally transformed. They would have lower testosterone than less involved dads, and their testosterone would stay reduced during the early parenting years. ‘Their prolactin might also be high, and their oxytocin would likely frequently spike up during affectionate, sensitive moments, reflecting father-child bonds and familiarity.’

I’ve seen the changes in myself. For several years, whenever my baby daughter or son made the slightest whimper at any time of night, I would find myself instantly awake and stomping over, as if controlled by a chip in my head. I’m restless and fidgety, but within a week of my first child being born I was able to rock from side to side singing ‘rock-a-bye-baby’ for hours, night after night, and I can still read my children the same story five times back-to-back without getting bored. A few years ago, there was a moment when, cradling my infant son, my nipples began to tingle strongly as if preparing to lactate.

As first one and then two children have absorbed more and more time, my life, and that of my wife, has been reduced to caring for them and working to provide for them. We rarely go out, and the only other adults we meet are those with children who can entertain our own. After a decade working in far-flung places such as India and Kazakhstan, my world has shrunk to two square kilometres of Malmö bounded by my children’s daycare, the playground, my office and my home. The strangest thing about this is not that it’s happened, but that, nestled in my warm oxytocin cocoon, I don’t mind…




Lance Schuttler, Guest, Waking Times

While the term psycho-acoustic medicine may be relatively new in our world, the practices of using sound and frequencies to impact the physical and emotional health of the body has been used since the beginning of time. From Gregorian chants in churches, to the chanting of Tibetan monks, to Native American drumming, song and sound have been a catalyst in stimulating health and healing for the body and mind in all cultures. The definition of psycho-acoustic medicine is the science of how music and sound impact the nervous system, psychologically and physiologically. Simply, how it is how sound impacts the mind and the body.

One particular area of this science of sound is that of “binaural beats.” Binaural beats were first theorized in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove but was first scientifically tested and proven in 1973 by Dr. Gerald Oster, a medical doctor and biophysicist, when he published his finding in a research paper called Auditory Beats in the Brain. The study opened up a whole new area of science as it showed how sound affects the way and how quickly the brain learns new information, mood control, sleep patterns and healing responses within the body, among many other items.

How Binaural Beats Influence The Brain and Body

To begin, let’s first look at what binaural beats exactly are. Dr. Suzanne Evans Morris, Ph.D., who is a speech-language pathologist, states:

“Research shows that different frequencies presented to each ear through stereo headphones… create a difference tone (or binaural beat) as the brain puts together the two tones it actually hears. Through EEG monitoring the difference tone is identified by a change in the electrical pattern produced by the brain. For example, frequencies of 200 Hz and 210 Hz produce a binaural beat frequency of 10 Hz (The difference in 210 Hz and 200 Hz is 10 Hz). Monitoring of the brain’s electricity (EEG) shows that the brain produces increased 10 Hz activity with equal frequency and amplitude of the wave form in both hemispheres of the brain (left and right hemisphere).”

The difference of a 200 Hz and 190 Hz frequency results in a 10 Hz binaural beat.

The result of this is called “brainwave entrainment,” which in the examples above, entrain at 10 Hz. Any electrochemical activity of the brain results in the production of electromagnetic wave forms that can be objectively measured with sensitive equipment. Since brain waves change frequencies based on neural activity within the brain, and because neural activity is electrochemical, brain function can be modified by using sound and frequencies. Thus, certain frequencies/sound/music stimulate the brain to produce certain neurotransmitters like serotonin, the “feel good” chemical messenger that helps to reduce pain and increases the feelings of pleasure. More on that and other benefits a bit further down.

Researchers believe that different brain wave patterns are linked to the production in the brain of various neurochemicals associated with relaxation and stress release, increased learning and creativity, memory, and other desirable benefits. These neurochemicals include beta-endorphins, growth factors, gut peptides, acetylcholine, vasopressin, and serotonin.

Neuro-electric therapy engineer Dr. Margaret Patterson and Dr. Ifor Capel, showed in there experiments how a 10 Hz brainwave frequency (alpha brainwaves), increased the production of serotonin, to help ease pain and increase relaxation. They also showed how a 4 Hz brainwave frequency (theta brainwaves), increases production of catecholamines, which are important for memory and learning.

Dr. Capel explains this mechanism a bit further:

“As far as we can tell, each brain center generates impulses at a specific frequency based on the predominant neurotransmitter it secretes. In other words, the brain’s internal communication system—its language, is based on frequency… Presumably, when we send in waves of electrical energy at, say, 10 Hz, certain cells in the lower brain stem will respond because they normally fire within that frequency range.”

This is also exactly what Dr. Candice Pert has proved, who was a neuroscientist, biophysicist and pharmacologist, who researched at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and taught at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. Dr. Pert was the first to prove that thoughts and emotions create a direct physiological effect on the body, thus demonstrating the long held beliefs of Mind-Body medicine. In other words, she proved that positive or negative thoughts and emotions are always either improving or declining our health, based on the chemicals that are released and transported to every cell. Dr. Pert had this to say about the effects of frequency in affecting the cells of body:

“Energy and vibration go all the way to the molecular level. We have 70 different receptors on the molecules and when vibration and frequency reaches that far they begin to vibrate [thus allowing the cells to be directly affected by vibration].

Basically, receptors function as scanners. They cluster in cellular membranes, waiting for the right ligand (much smaller molecules than receptors), to come dancing along (diffusing) through the fluid surrounding each cell, and mount them – binding with them and (vibrating) them to turn them on and get them motivated to vibrate a message into the cell. Binding of the ligand to the receptor is likened to two voices, striking the same note and producing a vibration that rings a doorbell to open the doorway to the cell.”

In other words, for any message (vibrating ligand) to be received by a cell, the cell must vibrate at the same frequency as the ligand. Thus, when brainwaves are in the Alpha state, 8 to 14 Hz, that vibration or frequency is on par for more serotonin to be created, for example.

Everyday Applications of This Medicine

There are several different applications that this form of medicine can be used to beneficially impact our lives, which might include stress relief, pain relief, headaches relief, reversing and preventing cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, reversing and preventing different cancers, increased memory, learning and recall, as well as better sleep cycles, addiction recovery, enhanced cognitive abilities due to synchronization of the left and right brain hemispheres, and enhanced overall well-being.

It’s known and proven that by exercising our brain, we have better mental and emotional health and increased intellectual functioning. Dr. Robert Cosgrove, Jr., Ph.D., M.D., says:

“[Binaural beats] have been observed by us to be an excellent neuro-pathway exerciser. As such we believe it has great potential for use in promoting optimal cerebral performance. Maintaining and improving cerebral performance throughout life delays for decades the deterioration of the brain traditionally associated with aging…”

As stated above, if one wants to relax and de-stress, listening to a binaural beat that produces alpha brainwaves (between 8 and 14 Hz), more serotonin will be produced as well as more endorphins. This would help to reduce physical and emotional pain, as well as increasing the feelings of relaxation and happiness. Listening to an alpha binaural beat can also help to increase learning abilities. Dr. Georgi Lozanov showed that students in the alpha state can learn as much as five times the amount of information in less time per day, and with greater long-term retention…


About the Author
Lance Schuttler graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Health Science-Health Coaching and offers health coaching services through his website Orgonlight Health. You can follow the Orgonlight Health Facebook page or visit the website for more information on how to receive health coaching for yourself, your friend or family member as well as view other inspiring articles.
Like Waking Times on Facebook. Follow Waking Times on Twitter.
This article (Psycho-Acoustic Medicine: The Science of Sound in Health & Well-Being) was originally created and published by The Mind Unleashed and is re-posted here with permission.



My First Heart Attack - no border

It’s noon, and a little cold out. But with clear beautiful skies above San Francisco. We’ve got a respite from the torrential rains, before they’re set to start again early in the week.

Tony’s back working dispatch at ‘ol Citizen’s Cab. And he’s coming over the radio with an order, “12th ‘n Mahrket… 12th n’ Mahrket… Who I gaht fer da Paratransit ahffice… 12th ‘n Mahrket.”

And your driver bids, “1015. Haight & Fillmore.”

Before Tony comes back, “Aneebodee else? Aneebodee? Nah?? Ohkay, 1015. Goh get da regulah, Maude, aht 68 12th Streeet. Da Paratrahnsit ahffice.”

1015, “1015. Copy. 68 12th Street. For Maude.”

Maude is old school San Francisco, with grown kids born and raised here in the Mission. And as with much of old school San Francisco, she was priced out a couple of years ago and had to move down to Daly City. But she still has roots, and frequents the city a lot. Maude is salty, opinionated, and wields her cane for more than just propping up her septuagenarian bones.

She calls Citizen’s Cab several times a week, for various rides around town: to the hair stylist, mom and pop Mexican food, and medical appointments. I’ve actually been waiting to see her again, to ask if she knows The Mayor of Folsom, Frankie, of last week’s fame. They’re both native San Franciscans, and lived within a block of each other for north of thirty years. She must.

In no time, I’m pulling up in front of the SF Paratransit office – where Maude is no doubt filling up her card with more money, for government subsidized rides on the SF taxpayer’s dime. (Even though she now lives south.)

There’s no need to radio Tony for a call-out, as Maude is unquestionably just inside the doors waiting, and watching. Sure enough, immediately, the automatic doors open and Maude begins waddling out. And immediately, she starts yelling and waving her cane.

“Pull up CLOSER to the curb! You’re too damn far from the curb!!”

Driver rocks 1015 forward and back making adjustments, before Maude goes for the door, throws in her cane, and settles in back.

Then Maude gasps, “Now. (Gasp!) 2238 Geary, driver. Kaiser.”

Driver marks his waybill, and repeats back, “2238 Geary. Kaiser medical building.”

It should be noted that there’s a Kaiser EMERGENCY room just one block up, and across the street, from the medical building. And there is a tree lined median with no left turns on Geary all around there. AND there’s a Kaiser, the French Campus, about a mile further down on Geary, at 6th Ave. So, this is definitely something you want to be clear on when a passenger says “Kaiser.”

En route, Maude snips as she micromanages the ride. The usual.

“Been living in this town for all my life. Some of you drivers know what you’re doing. And some don’t. I remember you, though. You’re one of the good ones.”

After a jaunt up heavily trafficked Franklin, with all three lanes vying for the edge to pass around the ubiquitous construction and slower moving vehicles, we eventually make our left onto Geary. And Maude suddenly gets melancholy, looking out the window, as she begins to openly lament all of the recent changes to the city.

“There ain’t no left turns anywhere in this town anymore. What they done to Van Ness. What they done to Mission Street. And now, they’re gonna do it to Geary, too! They’re all stupid down there at City Hall. Or crazy! They got no clue what they’re doing… For a gay town, nowadays, all you can do is go straight!”

And with this, Driver is reminded to ask Maude about The Mayor of Folsom.

“Oh! Hey! You just reminded me! I drove this old guy last week to his place down on Folsom. Actually, I picked him up from Kaiser! Anyway, he said his name was Frankie. He said he was The Mayor of Folsom. Do you know him? He lived just a block from where you used to, on Folsom. Funny guy.”

Maude, “Oh, yeah. I know Frankie. Frankie knows everyone. They used to call me the Mayor of 24th Street. ‘Cause I knew everyone there. Frankie and I were neighbors for over thirty years. Good guy. And his wife, Gloria, real nice lady. Frankie’s got a mouth on him, though. I’ll tell ya. He’d tell me all his dirty jokes. And I’d lift up my cane and shake it at him, and say, ‘Hey, Frankie. Ya want me to put this up your ass?’ That was how me and Frankie was. We used to go to church together, too. Me and Frankie, and his wife. And my husband. God rest his soul. Died ah cancer fifteen years ago now.”

And we pull up to 2238 Geary, the Kaiser medical building, with Driver finagling around and in between several various shuttle buses, Paratransit and Kaiser, to get Maude to a spot close to the curb. The meter reads $12.30. Maude hands me up her SF Paratransit card, fresh with money, and tells me to take the fixed 10% tip. And Driver obliges.

And as Driver does, a desperate man stumbles up to 1015’s closed shotgun window, huffing and anxious. I mime through the window to hold on, and then point to the back, to indicate I’ll be free right after I finish with Maude. Dude gasps as he watches me swipe Maude’s card and process her fare.

Maude, not one to be left out of any transaction, rolls down her window to tell the guy to wait. But dude beats Maude to the punch, addressing me through her open window before she can get a word out.

“Please! Take me to Kaiser!”





Wig-wearing socialites: beware of hidden boys, monkeys, and thieving men on horses.
Wig-wearing socialites: beware of hidden boys, monkeys, and thieving men on horses. HISTORICAL PICTURE ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

Thieves employed monkeys to rob the wealthy of their coiffures.

By Lauren Young

In 18th-century England, it was best to be wary of any hands that reached too close to your hair. They could belong to a wig snatcher.

The 1776 engraving above depicts one of the carefully plotted hair heists. A wealthy woman walks along a high orchard wall in the latest fashion—an enormous headdress wig trimmed with lavish lace and ribbons. Suddenly, the intricately combed and curled set of hair is lifted from her head by a monkey perched on the wall, revealing her bare head.

Socialites had to be extra cautious of wig snatchers. Throughout England and Europe, finely powdered perukes, also called periwigs, were in vogue among royal courts and the upper class. The more ornate and towering your wig, the higher your social standing. The expensive and easily removable headpieces led to a series of wig thefts: surprisingly elaborate and creative robberies involving animals, long poles, and young boys hauled on the shoulders of impostor butchers.

Stolen wigs, large and small, could be sold for a pretty penny.
Stolen wigs, large and small, could be sold for a pretty penny. WELLCOME LIBRARY/CC BY 4.0

One of the most successful wig-stealing schemes involved concealing young boys in baskets and under blankets, according to William Andrews, author of the 1904 book At the Sign of the Barber’s Pole. In an episode in England, a boy rode in a butcher’s tray carried on the shoulder of a tall man. As the pair walked passed a victim, the boy twisted the periwig off the head and the man would take off in the opposite direction, leaving the confused owner clutching at his or her now bald head.

The same tactic would be used with boys hidden in baskets held by wig stealers, writes Robert Norman in The Woman Who Lost Her Skin (and Other Dermatological Tales).

An illustration of one of the most successful wig thieving techniques, featured in <em>At the Sign of the Barber’s Pole</em>.
An illustration of one of the most successful wig thieving techniques, featured in At the Sign of the Barber’s Pole. PUBLIC DOMAIN

In addition to using monkeys, wig thieves also employed dogs. One boy would harass a finely dressed, bewigged gentleman as another seized the hair and toss it to a dog, explains Margaret Visser in The Way We Are: What Everyday Objects and Conventions Tell Us About Ourselves. All three would split down different alleys and later meet up to celebrate their plunder. Meanwhile, the bald victim would often be more concerned about covering his head and pride than running after the thieves, Visser writes.

In this heist, one woman thrusts a fish into the face of a dandy, while another woman in a window cuts his peruke.
In this heist, one woman thrusts a fish into the face of a dandy, while another woman in a window cuts his peruke. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/PUBLIC DOMAIN

The social elite in both France and England also had to beware of the highwaymen who roamed country roads. Thieves known as “chiving lays” would lurk behind hackney coaches, which were forced to roll slowly down narrow and poorly paved streets, and slice the back of the carriage to snatch a wig from the passenger’s head, explains Geri Walton. Highwaymen riding on horses would also target coaches, stealing wigs and quickly riding off.

Highwaymen targeted carriages of upper class citizens to steal wigs.
Highwaymen targeted carriages of upper class citizens to steal wigs. PUBLIC DOMAIN

In one heist, highwayman John Everett had an interesting means to obtain a better wig—he forced a man to trade. Fiona McDonald notes in Gentlemen Rogues and Wicked Ladies:

Enjoying This Story?

Get our latest, delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

“Everett fancied a bob wig that sat atop the head of a Quaker seated in a coach with a number of other passengers. Everett pulled it off the man’s head and swapped it with his own second-hand tie wig (which he had bought, not stolen). The tie wig made the man look like a comical devil and the rest of the coach party burst out laughing. The robbery ended with all parties going their separate ways without any hard feelings (except perhaps from the Quaker).”

Everett was arrested shortly after this robbery, and was detained in prison for three years. However, many wig thieves often got away without punishment. For example, Christopher Matthews was accused of stealing a valuable wig in 1716, reports indicating that there was little doubt he had committed the crime. But the chief prosecution witness strangely did not come to his trial, and the jury were “oblig’d to acquit him,” explains Gregory Durston in Whores and Highwaymen: Crime and Justice in the Eighteenth-Century Metropolis. It’s implied that Matthews may have been involved in witness’s attendance.

In England, only 4.3 percent of all types of theft cases were brought to the Old Bailey during the 18th century, and 70 percent of those accused were found not guilty…




Apparently almost everybody is doing it. Should you?

by Tracy Moore

Fapping is the new smoke break. Masturbating at work is a “great way to relieve stress and tension,” a psychology prof at Nottingham Trent University said recently, not to mention a “great self-motivational reward.” A 2015 survey from Time Out that found that some 40 percent of New Yorkers masturbate on the job keeps recirculating on the internet, as does a 2012 survey from Glamour that put that figure closer to 31 percent. Either way, look around the office: Easily a third to nearly a half of the people you’re grabbing coffee next to in the break room are devoting some amount of their work day to stroking it. Should you be one of them? Ask yourself these questions.

Do you really have to do this?

Sure, you’re batshit horny, or thinking about your latest sexual fixation. But let’s think this one through: You ostensibly live in some sort of dwelling with a more traditional sense of privacy than any job is going to offer (outside of manning a lighthouse). It’s called your house. Is work really your best location for becoming fully erect and massaging your member to completion?

FINE, you really have to. But can you be super fucking quiet?

We assume that unless you’re a particularly breathy masturbator, you ostensibly have years of practice beating off in tomblike silence.

Does everyone clear out in your office in the afternoon so you have the place all to yourself?

According to one chronic work masturbator who has masturbated at work a few times a week for years, this is your best bet for jerking on the clock. He told me he often arrives at work late and stays later than most of his colleagues, so once everyone is gone, it’s into the bathroom and out with the laptop. (Note: He’s still not dumb enough to beat it right out in the open. You shouldn’t be either.)

Do you work for a giant corporation in a building with whole wings under construction, or an office space so vast that there are routinely free, unoccupied entire floors and/or empty offices with reliably locking doors?

The chronic masturbator told me that, second to a totally empty office late in the day, finding an unoccupied floor or office with a locking door is your next-best bet for employed masturbatory bliss, assuming you don’t get stumbled on by a janitor or realtor trying to show the place.

Does your office have a single-use stall with a reliably locking door?

It’s private, and there’s a reasonable amount of time you could sneak away to do the deed, no questions asked.

Can you get it done in under five to 10 minutes so as not to elicit any suspicion?

Take too long and someone’s going to need that bathroom and start asking questions.

If it’s a multi-stall bathroom, can you be quiet, efficient and contain any potential “jerking-off” shadows, or at least make them look like a nervous tic (e.g., a foot shake), knowing there’s someone sitting right beside you?

This is still doable, believe it or not. “I like to pick a stall in the public bathroom,” Patrick, a 40-year-old government worker, told us last year about his affection for work jerking. “Usually, there aren’t a lot of people around. But sometimes I have to wait for neighbors to leave.”…




Resultado de imagem para Marina Abramovic during 'The Artist is Present' exhibition at MOMA, 9 March 2010 in New York. Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Marina Abramovic during ‘The Artist is Present’ exhibition at MOMA, 9 March 2010 in New York. Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Life’s most meaningful experiences can leave us tongue-tied. What can be said, let alone understood, about the unsayable?

Silvia Jonasis a Polonsky Academy Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and a visiting researcher and lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her latest book is Ineffability and its Metaphysics: The Unspeakable in Art, Religion, and Philosophy (2016).

In 2010, the artist Marina Abramović performed for 700 hours at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, in a piece called The Artist is Present. It involved her sitting still in the middle of the gallery’s soaring atrium, wearing one of a selection of striking, block-colour dresses that pooled over her feet. Members of the audience could come and sit with Abramović, and face her across a table or empty space, in silence. The emotion and intensity of their responses was astonishing. Some laughed; many cried. Arthur Danto, the late Columbia University philosopher and art critic, compared his time with Abramović to ‘a shamanic trance’, and described the show as ‘magic’ in The New York Times. More than 1,500 people came and sat with Abramović, and 750,000 attended as observers. A recurring sentiment among the visitors was that the performance was a deep revelation for which words were not sufficient. If this is true, then something about it was ineffable. 

We’re used to the idea that some of life’s most meaningful experiences are difficult, if not impossible, to describe. But what, precisely, does it mean to say that something is unsayable? Philosophers from Arthur Schopenhauer to Theodor Adorno and Roger Scruton have tended to see ineffability as a mere mark of the extraordinary, rather than being something extraordinary in itself. Yet I’d argue that we should take the concept of ineffability seriously – that we should ask what it is and where it comes from.

Clearly, this enquiry is full of pitfalls. If something is beyond words, then it’s hard to get a handle on what, if anything, it means. Ludwig Wittgenstein, for example, was convinced that it was nonsensical to try to speak about what lies outside the limits of language. Even so, he wrote an entire book about what cannot be said, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921), concluding with the observation: ‘Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.’

We might never be able to eff the ineffable, to paraphrase Douglas Adams’s comic detective Dirk Gently. But perhaps we can pinpoint the nature of the thing that can’t be expressed, or find a way to describe what it consists of. I believe that there are at least four possible candidates for a non-nonsensical answer: ineffable objects, ineffable truths, ineffable content, and ineffable knowledge.

First, can there be such a thing as an ineffable object – a being, a thing, an entity? The Daoists of ancient China, for example, believed in something called the ‘Dao’, the source of all reality that transcended characterisation. A similar idea animated the Greek philosopher Plotinus, who claimed that some sort of indescribable ‘One’ lay behind all existing things and was the guiding principle of reality. Over the course of the European Middle Ages, Plotinus’ idea of the ‘One’ was slowly absorbed into the notion of God, transferring the source of ineffability from the fundamental order of reality to the creator of that order. The medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides argued that, since God cannot be compared to anything in the world, the only way to describe Him was by means of negative attributes, by describing what He was not.

There’s a trivial sense in which all objects are ‘ineffable’: we can express sentences and propositions, thoughts and emotions, but never objects themselves. I can describe a chair to you but I cannot ‘express’ a chair – simply because chairs are not the kinds of thing that can be transported via language. However, this is surely not what ancient and medieval philosophers had in mind. Rather, they were convinced that there was at least one object (the Dao, the One, God) that could not be captured by means of ordinary human language, because no description would do it justice.

From the perspective of analytic philosophy, however, this theory is difficult to maintain. Let’s define ‘D’ as the property that makes the Dao unique. D thus refers, first, to whatever is unique about the Dao’s nature; second, to what distinguishes the Dao from every other object in the world; and third, to whatever it is that makes the Dao ineffable. The analytic philosopher can respond to these claims with an argument put forward in 1989 by the philosopher William Alston. Attributing a property to an object implies having formed a concept of the property, which in turn implies having cognitive access to it (that is, we must have formed some idea of what having that property would entail). But if a property is cognitively accessible to one person, then in principle it must be cognitively accessible to other persons, too. It can thus become the meaning of a term in their language. That means it’s possible for an expression to signify the property that uniquely characterises the Dao, God or the One. So the somewhat romantic idea of a profound, ineffable object is not tenable…





Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News/Getty Images

Dow Chemical Wants Farmers to Keep Using a Pesticide Linked to Autism and ADHD

Image: ANALYSIS: The big cities most likely to collapse into violence and social unrest

ANALYSIS: The big cities most likely to collapse into violence and social unrest

(NaturalNews) Things in America may appear to be more stable now that Hillary Clinton and the political establishment she would have represented lost her bid for the White House. But the election of Donald J. Trump, while on the surface promises to be one of the greatest of all time, may not herald in the kind of stability many of us would like to see (there are lots of Obama-era problems that still need fixing first).

That said, it is just as important now than it was before the November election to begin your transition out of the major cities, which will become hubs of medieval deprivation and horror should some sort of economic collapse or other societal game-changing incident take place. (RELATED: Read more news about societal collapse at

As noted by, we’re getting closer and closer to chaos in the 21st century. The world has gone without global conflagration of a scale last seen during World War II, when entire continents were left in ashes and tens of millions were killed, both soldiers and civilians. The air of destruction and the stench of death, literally, were everywhere.

Any similar conflict in this century could well be fatal—for the entire planet. Nuclear weapons have become the great equalizer, and promise, if unleashed, to not simply wipe out humankind but to make the planet uninhabitable for hundreds of years, and maybe forever.

Many cities around the globe are already nearing collapse

But short of world war we also face a crisis of conscience and a betrayal of government. The election of Trump has proven that populism and nationalism has come back to America; all across Europe, thanks to the dual crises of economic stagnation and globalization, populist/nationalist movements are afoot.

There, terrorism threatens to unravel the fabric of the civil society; in the U.S., it’s political and economic turmoil. Hatred and division, sown mostly by the Left, are pervasive throughout our country. Add to that distrust, disgust and no real desire to “heal” and “get along,” and we are in as explosive a situation as perhaps at any time since our Civil War.

The problem is that people are migrating to large urban areas, not away from them. That means there is a higher concentration of Americans living in fewer places in the country, thereby amplifying the social chaos to the point where most of the population will be affected.

As Wired reported, while disaster appears to be looming globally, there are some urban centers already approaching total collapse thanks to several factors. Using data on 2,100 cities worldwide, researcher Robert Muggah has found which cities are on the cusp of becoming the most violent, unsafe and fragile.

According to his graphic, none of 30 of the most at-risk cities he identified are in the United States, but that is likely due to institutional bias because the U.S. has traditionally been stable. Cities that are on the list in North America—Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Mexico City, Mexico; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; and three cities in Guatemala—have historically been tumultuous.

But in a global collapse situation, all bets are off and formerly stable cities and countries will very likely turn into cauldrons of unrest, chaos and death.

Trump win may not head off potential crisis and social chaos

Donald Trump’s victory in and of itself could bring turmoil to U.S. streets. There have been some small, but sustained, protests since he vanquished Clinton, but there have been additional reports that groups are planning major social unrest on Jan. 20, his inauguration day. As Natural News founder/editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, has reported, there are rumblings that Left-wing operatives are planning to severely disrupt the inauguration, forcing it out of the public’s eye and into seclusion. Also, Adams noted, there are reports that some ultra-radical elements are plotting to take over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Beyond that attempt at disruption, which of course will ultimately be unsuccessful, there are other plans in place to continue disrupting the Trump agenda and de-legitimize his presidency. Most Americans will dismiss these attempts as little more than partisan sniping; but what if the establishment and globalist forces succeed in their plan to undermine Trump with a crash of the global economy, something they would benefit from but which would be blamed squarely on the billionaire real estate developer-turned-commander in chief?

It wouldn’t necessarily matter to Americans who was responsible. What the majority would care about mostly is their loss of income, comfort, stability and future. Cities, of course, would fall first—and hardest, especially those 30 or so identified by Muggah. Keep in mind those cities are already on the brink; not much would need to happen to push them into massive death zones.





Illustration by Carly Jean Andrews

by Chris Bourn

Oversharing personal information can reward the brain like a hit of your favorite narcotic—and be just as hard to quit

In 2008, the late multimillionaire and creator of Maxim magazine, Felix Dennis, told a reporter from The Times of London that he had once killed a man by pushing him off a cliff in Connecticut. Committing the murder, “Weren’t ’ard,” the Brit boasted in his West London growl. The following day, however, Dennis called the paper to try to retract the claim, blaming his supposed fabrication on four bottles of wine and an April Fool’s prank. Despite his best efforts, the quotes went to press and speculation over the incident hovered over him until his death in 2014.

True or not, the publishing tycoon’s Scorsese-esque anecdote offers an extreme example of the kind of next-day regret most of us have found ourselves confronting at one time or another. Why, despite at least some level of awareness that nobody wanted to hear about your weird medical condition/bizarre sexual injury/preferred method of trimming your toenails, do you choose to mention it anyway? And why, like an oil tanker heading for a glacier, is it so hard to change conversational course once you’ve started oversharing?

“Sharing information is a way of letting people into our world,” says psychologist Funke Baffour. “The urge to share personal information makes us feel connected with that person.” Divulging private details is a fundamental aspect of our social natures — but when that urge is overindulged, she says, “It’s a little like taking drugs: Some people know they shouldn’t do it, but they do it anyway only to feel regret later.”

In fact, the response that oversharing triggers in our brains is almost exactly like a narcotic. According to a 2012 paper by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, human beings devote between 30 and 40 percent of their speech solely to “one’s private experiences or personal relationships.” When investigating why, the researchers measured dopamine activity — one of the brain’s main feel-good reward chemicals — in people as they shared intimate information with others. They concluded that humans “so willingly self-disclose because doing so represents an event with intrinsic value, in the same way as with primary rewards such as food and sex.”

But if TMI is habit-forming, how easy is it to wean yourself off it?

“Recognize your signs and the times that you tend to overshare,” advises Baffour. “Is it when you’re intoxicated? Is it when you feel insecure, and you find that by over talking you’re gaining confidence?” If the latter is the case, she recommends finding someone to talk to who is not necessarily strongly connected to you, but whose presence creates a safe space to offload personal stuff. (Ever found yourself telling your life story to a cab driver you’ll never see again? Not such a bad idea, it turns out.)

There might be another reason for your frequent episodes of verbal diarrhea, though. Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, found that people were more than twice as likely to email an online article to a friend after they’d been jogging in place for 60 seconds. “When we’ve just exercised, when we’re on a plane ride that’s a little bit rocky, when we walk out of a movie that’s really scary, these emotions that we feel activate us,” Berger explained in an interview with the Harvard Business Review. “This activation drives us to share things, even if we don’t mean to share them. It leads to a lot of oversharing.” All of which may explain why pillow talk — as exploited by seductive spies — is such a classic arena for spilling our guts…




%d bloggers like this: