THE SUBTLE ART OF OFFENDING PEOPLE

Gary Z McGee, Contributor Waking Times “Of what use is a philosopher who doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings?” ~Diogenes of Sinope We live in a world filled with thin-skinned status quo junkies walking on eggshells. Everyone is afraid of offending and being offended. Everyone is afraid of getting real. Everyone is afraid—full stop. Sentimentality abounds. Meek and soppy simpletons rule the day. Snowflakes with hair triggers are being triggered left and right. It’s a veritable minefield of mawkishness and cry-me-a-river Karens out there. Oh. Fucking. Well. Let them weep. Let them cry. Let them fall all over themselves in a cartoon crisis … Continue reading THE SUBTLE ART OF OFFENDING PEOPLE

Your Brain Is an Energy-Efficient ‘Prediction Machine’

Results from neural networks support the idea that brains use predictions to create perceptions—and that they work that way to conserve power. HOW OUR BRAIN, a three-pound mass of tissue encased within a bony skull, creates perceptions from sensations is a long-standing mystery. Abundant evidence and decades of sustained research suggest that the brain cannot simply be assembling sensory information, as though it were putting together a jigsaw puzzle, to perceive its surroundings. This is borne out by the fact that the brain can construct a scene based on the light entering our eyes, even when the incoming information is noisy … Continue reading Your Brain Is an Energy-Efficient ‘Prediction Machine’

Please Enjoy Your Food

It could be the best meditation you do all day. By Edward Espe Brown From time to time, Tricycle features articles from the Inquiring Mind archive. Inquiring Mind, a Buddhist journal that was in print from 1984–2015, has a growing number of articles from its back issues available at www.inquiringmind.com (help Inquiring Mind complete its archive by donating here). Today’s selection is from the Fall 1994  issue, On Having a Body. When we break for lunch at my Saturday meditation retreats, I often tell people, “Please enjoy your food.” All morning I have been offering various instructions in sitting and walking meditation, and by lunchtime we have also had … Continue reading Please Enjoy Your Food

The body is not a machine

Modern biomedicine sees the body as a closed mechanistic system. But illness shows us to be permeable, ecological beings Nitin K Ahuja is an assistant professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Philadelphia. Edited by Pam Weintraub Ms Smith is a 40-year-old woman who comes to see me in clinic, having suffered for years with nausea, bloating and irregular stools. She’s been to two gastroenterologists before me, and nothing they recommended was any help. All her tests came back normal – but something’s wrong, no question, and getting worse. There’s pain … Continue reading The body is not a machine

Can quantum mechanics explain consciousness?

Quantum mechanics + consciousness: There is nothing better than mixing two great mysteries to produce an even bigger one. KEY TAKEAWAYS Despite the tremendous success of quantum physics, its interpretation remains uncertain.  The brain, which is made up of neurons, which themselves are made up of molecules, is likely influenced by quantum effects.  Can quantum mechanics and neuroscience be merged into a theory of “quantum consciousness”? by Marcelo Gleiser Few mysteries are more persistent and inscrutable than the mystery of who we are. Granted, there are many ways to go about exploring this question, and science is not the only … Continue reading Can quantum mechanics explain consciousness?

Life, Death, and What Fills the Interlude with Meaning: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Touching Diary Reflections on His Dying Mother and His Five-Year-Old Daughter

“I saw my little Una… so full of spirit and life that she was life itself. And then I looked at my poor dying mother, and seemed to see the whole of human existence at once, standing in the dusty midst of it.” BY MARIA POPOVA It is said that Orlando, inspired by the passionate real-life love Virginia Woolf shared with Vita Sackville-West, is “the longest and most charming love letter in literature” — said by Vita’s own son. But the most charming love letter in literature might be quite shorter and older and inspired by a very different kind of love — … Continue reading Life, Death, and What Fills the Interlude with Meaning: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Touching Diary Reflections on His Dying Mother and His Five-Year-Old Daughter

Should Beginners Use Meditation Apps? A New Study Warns of Adverse Effects

A study in Psychotherapy Research indicates that people who started meditating using an app may be more likely to develop what’s known as “meditation sickness.” By Wendy Biddlecombe Agsar Anew study published in the journal Psychotherapy Research indicates that people who started meditating using an app have a higher likelihood of developing the adverse effects that can result from meditation practice.   This finding was included in “Prevalence of meditation-related adverse effects in a population-based sample in the United States,” which was published in June 2021. The study’s authors conducted what they believe to be the first population-based survey of the adverse effects of meditation (participants, it should … Continue reading Should Beginners Use Meditation Apps? A New Study Warns of Adverse Effects

Cities that grow themselves

They are spreading like branching plants across the globe. Should we rein cities in or embrace their biomorphic potential? Josh Berson is an anthropologist and the author, among other things, of The Human Scaffold: How Not to Design Your Way Out of a Climate Crisis (2021) and The Meat Question: Animals, Humans, and the Deep History of Food (2019). Edited by Sam Haselby In 1996, one in three inhabitants of China lived in an urban setting. In 2021, the figure was close to two in three. In the United States, in comparison, the figure is four in five. The construction boom in China tracks … Continue reading Cities that grow themselves

It’s Not Irrational to Party Like It’s 1999

Contrary to what the philosopher said, passion can be a slave to reason. BY STEVEN PINKER Must we always follow reason? Do I need a rational argument for why I should fall in love, cherish my children, enjoy the pleasures of life? Isn’t it sometimes OK to go crazy, to be silly, to stop making sense? If rationality is so great, why do we associate it with a dour joylessness? Was the philosophy professor in Tom Stoppard’s play Jumpers right in his response to the claim that “the Church is a monument to irrationality?” The National Gallery is a monument to irrationality! … Continue reading It’s Not Irrational to Party Like It’s 1999

THE ART OF DEATHPROOFING

Gary Z McGee, Contributor Waking Times “Just as a well-filled day brings blessed sleep, so a well-employed life brings blessed death.” ~Leonardo Da Vinci Death comes to us all. But life does not, necessarily. Most of us live life half-alive, or half-dead, depending on how you look at it. Quiet desperation tends to rule the day. Most of us merely survive rather than vitally thrive. Ironically, death can help us with this conundrum. Death can help us live life more fully. It can help us go from mere survivor to resolute thriver. It puts life into perspective by teaching the living … Continue reading THE ART OF DEATHPROOFING