By Patrick Pester There’s good news and bad news. The impacts of climate change are here with soaring temperatures, stronger hurricanes, intensified floods and a longer and more severe wildfire season. Scientists warn that ignoring climate change will yield “untold suffering” for humanity. But if things are going to get that much worse, could climate change make humans go extinct? Scientists predict a range of devastating scenarios if climate change is not kept under control, but if we just consider the direct impacts, then there’s some good news; it’s unlikely to cause our extinction. “There is no evidence of climate change scenarios that would render human beings … Continue reading Could climate change make humans go extinct?
A strange philosophical thought experiment forces us to ask if the world can be completely described in physical terms. by JONNY THOMSON Physicalism is the idea that the world can be adequately and completely explained using physical descriptions and that even things which appear non-physical can be explained as physical. A thought experiment by Frank Jackson called Mary’s Room is a challenge to this view, and it maintains that a physical or material description of something can never give a full account of it. The question is whether our private feelings — known as “qualia” — can ever be meaningfully … Continue reading Inside Mary’s Room: is a physical world all there is?
Practices to help relieve fear and loneliness By Toni Bernhard We’d all like certainty in our lives. If you’re like me, the desire to know what’s going to happen to you would sit near the top of your wish list. But none of us can know. One of the conditions of being alive is that you’re subject to constant change and all it implies, including uncertainty, unpredictability, and a lack of control over much that happens to you. Here are some strategies and practices to help you find a measure of peace and contentment in the midst of life’s uncertainty. Use … Continue reading Self-Care in an Uncertain World
Pedestrians rushing to cross a street (Getty Images/aaaaimages) Going on a walk makes your mind wander in ways that neuroscience is only just coming to terms with By THOMAS NAIL Like most people, I have been walking more than usual during the pandemic and enjoying it. My meetings with students and colleagues have turned into walking meetings around campus for over a year. Now, I have a problem: School is starting soon, and I don’t want to go back to the classroom. We all saw this coming. Give employees a taste of the outdoors, and they might not want to go back to … Continue reading Why is walking so good for the brain? Blame it on the “spontaneous fluctuations”
Don Via Jr., The Free Thought Project Waking Times No matter how many times a commentary is provided on the subject, it is still nauseating to witness fervent tribalism perpetuated in real time. Weird how the one side of the demographic that was all in favor of finally “Ending the Forever Wars” for 4 years during the last Administration, are now the same ones clutching their pearls and regurgitating talking point after talking point of State Department nonsense to prolong that catastrophe. Where did all that “drain the swamp” rhetoric go? Vice-versa, the ones that are now presumptuously patting themselves on … Continue reading AS THE LEFT AND RIGHT ARGUE OVER TALKING POINTS, THEY’RE MISSING THE REAL LESSON FROM AFGHANISTAN
What the United States and other settler societies can learn from South Africa’s push to create a nonracial democracy Mahmood Mamdani is Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia University in New York City and executive director of the Makere Institute of Social Research in Kampala, Uganda. His books include Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror (2009) and Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities (2020) Edited bySam Haselby In the course of the struggle against apartheid, South Africans did something remarkable: they tried, with incomplete success, to destroy the settler and the native by reconfiguring … Continue reading The South African model
A conversation with Philip Glass and Fredericka Foster Philip Glass and Fredericka Foster We are on the phone, freewheeling about our practices: music, art, and meditation. Another day, we are in Philip’s kitchen, sitting at a wooden table. Behind us are comfortable couches and a private outdoor space. Philip’s partner, the artist Saori Tsukada, is working with flowers in the urban garden surrounding the house. —Fredericka Foster Philip Glass (PG): I was talking once to Gelek Rimpoche [1938–2017] about meditation, and I asked him, “Isn’t it just paying attention?” Yes, he said, “that’s absolutely what it is.” Meditation is a nice fuzzy word that we … Continue reading Music, Meditation, Painting—and Dreaming
“You must be vulnerable to be sensitive to reality. And to me being vulnerable is just another way of saying that one has nothing more to lose.” BY MARIA POPOVA Self-knowledge might be the most difficult of life’s rewards — the hardest to earn and the hardest to bear. To know yourself is to know that you are not an unassailable fixity amid the entropic storm of the universe but a set of fragilities in constant flux. To know yourself is to know that you are not invulnerable. The honest encounter with that vulnerability is the wellspring of art: Every … Continue reading Bob Dylan on Emotion, Vulnerability as the Price of Integrity, and Music as an Instrument of Truth
BY AZRA RAZA Gaia Vince in The Guardian: For every stoner who has been overcome with profound insight and drawled, “Reality is a construct, maaan,” here is the astonishing affirmation. Reality – or, at least, our perception of it – is a “controlled hallucination”, according to the neuroscientist Anil Seth. Everything we see, hear and perceive around us, our whole beautiful world, is a big lie created by our deceptive brains, like a forever version of The Truman Show, to placate us into living our lives. Our minds invent for us a universe of colours, sounds, shapes and feelings through which we interact with our … Continue reading Being You – The Exhilarating New Science Of Consciousness
Everyone who’s alive now – you, your friends, your family – one day won’t be. It’s an unavoidable fact, and yet we often go to great lengths to avoid acknowledging it. By Jules Howard According to data from the company Statista, just 11 per cent of us consider death in our daily lives. Most of us are clearly busy with the subject of life, perhaps only considering the subject three or four times a year. We in the West are, in the words of social psychologist Sheldon Solomon, masters of “burying existential anxieties under a mound of French fries”. But that’s understandable, … Continue reading Why it’s healthy to think about your own death