THE SCIENCE BEHIND WHY PEOPLE ARE SO EASILY FOOLED

by Anna Hunt, Staff Writer Waking Times The world has changed tremendously from the time of our ancestors. Today, we develop most of our beliefs based on external forces, with very little first-hand experience. Where the early humans relied on direct sensory experience to shape their beliefs, we now rely on language and our own ability to discern falsehoods from truth. With language, we undoubtedly receive a plethora of opinions and bias based on the orator’s own belief system. Yet, we are willing to believe much, without taking the time to investigate new ideas or seeking to experience them first-hand. What is … Continue reading THE SCIENCE BEHIND WHY PEOPLE ARE SO EASILY FOOLED

A Placid Ecstasy: Walt Whitman’s Most Direct Reflection on Happiness

Walt Whitman (Library of Congress) “What is happiness, anyhow? … so impalpable — a mere breath, an evanescent tinge…” BY MARIA POPOVA “One can’t write directly about the soul,”, Virginia Woolf wrote. “Looked at, it vanishes.” So with happiness — as slippery as “the soul,” as certain to crumble upon deconstruction. Philosophers have contemplated its nature for millennia, psychologists have attempted to unearth its existential building blocks and delineate its stages. And yet at the heart of it remains a mystery — wildly various across lives and within any one life, a fickle visitation unbeckonable by external lures, as anyone who has sorrowed on a sunny-skied day … Continue reading A Placid Ecstasy: Walt Whitman’s Most Direct Reflection on Happiness

Waiting For the Robot Rembrandt

A BEAUTIFUL DREAM: This series, called “Deep Rembrandt,” was displayed in Category 3, Machine Art / Human Aesthetics. It was generated with Google’s Deep Dream AI software.Courtesy of the Artificial Intelligence Art and Aesthetics Research Group What needs to happen for artificial intelligence to make fine art. BY HIDEKI NAKAZAWA The cellist Jan Vogler famously claimed that art is what makes us human. But what if machines start making art too?Here’s an example of a piece of art made by an artificial intelligence (AI): A BIT OF ART: A computer trained with images of graffiti produces its own art by spraying water … Continue reading Waiting For the Robot Rembrandt

What Color Is a Tennis Ball?

An investigation into a surprisingly divisive question by MARINA KOREN  It seemed like an easy question. The query came from a Twitter poll I spotted on my news feed last week, from user @cgpgrey. “Please help resolve a marital dispute,” @cgpgrey wrote. “You would describe the color of a tennis ball as:” green, yellow, or other. Yellow, obviously, I thought, and voted. When the results appeared, my jaw dropped with cartoonish effect. Of nearly 30,000 participants, 52 percent said a tennis ball is green, 42 percent said it’s yellow, and 6 percent went with “other.” I was stunned. I’d gone from being … Continue reading What Color Is a Tennis Ball?

Are You Looking to Buddhism When You Should Be Looking to Therapy?

  The ultimate goal of Buddhist practice isn’t about achieving mental health. By C. W. Huntington, Jr., Illustration by Kara Pyle Some 30 years ago Jack Engler published an influential study based on his experience as both a Buddhist meditation teacher and a clinical psychologist. He had discovered over the years that many people who come to Buddhism are looking for the kind of help they ought properly to seek in psychotherapy. “With the ‘triumph of the therapeutic’ in Western culture,” he wrote, there is a tendency in mindfulness meditation to “analyze mental content instead of simply observing it.” In more recent years this conflation between … Continue reading Are You Looking to Buddhism When You Should Be Looking to Therapy?

5 MAINSTREAM PARADIGMS THAT DRIVE PEOPLE INTO ADDICTION

by Trevor McDonald & Anna Hunt, Contributors Waking Times Many things contribute to addiction, including genetics and demographics. Nonetheless, society may be playing a larger role than we think. As the years press on, pop culture references drugs more than ever before. As well, virtual social identity becomes more prevalent, and more of us become slaves to acceptable vices like caffeine and sugar. Here are five paradigms in our current society that proliferate addiction. 1. Adoration of music industry celebrities Have you noticed that songs these days reference drugs more than ever before? Take for example Madonna’s MDNA album, which glorifies the party drug Molly … Continue reading 5 MAINSTREAM PARADIGMS THAT DRIVE PEOPLE INTO ADDICTION

The Case Against Reality

Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman explains why human perceptions of an independent reality are all illusions.David McNew / Quanta by AMANDA GEFTER A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses. As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions—sights, sounds, textures, tastes—are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it—or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion—we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess … Continue reading The Case Against Reality