I have recently stumbled upon a blog that might be worth your time as well. It is called “Life…It Really Is a Stage!” Here’s how it begins:
“So why am I starting a blog? No reason. That’s the reason. I’ve discovered that there is no reason for anything. No purpose. Life just is, and doesn’t need a reason to be. It is without there being people, trees, water, babies, love, joy, hate, jealousy, light, darkness, religion, no religion, heaven, hell, bugs, birds, movement, thought, feelings, intent…and the list goes on and on, ad nauseum and includes you…the “person” who believes they’re reading this blog. What am I talking about? Nothing. No thing. Therefore, when I write the word “I” keep in mind that it’s only used because it’s the proper part of speech that enables you to understand the symbols that you see on this page. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s only a symbol.”
The author of the blog, Cheryl, emailed me in response to a blogpost of mine. She said:
I really liked your “Collapse Your Favorite Duality” article posted on October 8th. It actually sounds like something that I’d have in my blog… except there would be no one doing the collapsing.
I checked her writing and thought the same: yes, both of us seem to be writing about the ineffable, about the inexpressible, about the one who is writing and lack thereof. Here’s another excerpt from her blog:
You are simply the light that shines on all experience. Whatever is “going on” is not your concern.
Stay out of it. It’s none of your business.
The illusory …
We hardly ever see the entire picture of What Is.
When I see fitness, I see health, but I also see lack thereof; fitness can mean fear of death (staying fit out of fear of aging); fitness can mean insecurity, ego, vanity, social comparisons, obsessiveness. You name it. (I’ll leave it up to you to unpack this.)
Same when I see lack of fitness – I see health. Indeed, lack of fitness might mean a sense of security (that comes with no longer banking on appearance to feel good about yourself). Lack of fitness might mean a set of existentially valid priorities in which a person values mind over body and, say, prefers to spend a Sunday morning reading rather than running. A lack of fitness might mean a lack of fear of dying, a kind of calm acceptance of one’s biological impermanence. But, of course, a lack of fitness might simply mean a lack of physical and psychological health.
In sum, when I see fitness or lack thereof, I see a range of interpretations that I do not bother to make since I have no way of knowing if my interpretations fit the facts of any given case.
Life is complex, nuanced, hidden, full of paradox. Things aren’t always as simple as they appear: we hardly ever see the entire picture. Health isn’t always health and a lack of health isn’t always a …
Catharsis—a letting out of anger energy—has been historically one of the frequent-flyer methods of emotional self-regulation. After enjoying almost a century of popularity, it’s been finally retired and written off as a recommended strategy. Carol Tavris, in her 1982 book, Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion, was one of the first to challenge the value of catharsis. Her conclusion was powerful and pithy:
The psychological rationale for ventilating anger does not stand up under experimental scrutiny. The weight of the evidence indicates [that] expressing anger makes you angrier, solidifies an angry attitude, and establishes a hostile habit.
Elsewhere, she makes the point that catharsis of anger rehearses anger. Now, that view puts the final nail in the coffin of catharsis. Yet, the idea of venting remains in the minds of the general population. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard an angry client rationalize his or her anger as venting. So, what can we do about that? We can conveniently reframe this myth by encouraging the client to shift from venting to ventilating, from gasping in rageful exasperation to conscious breathing.
“From venting to ventilating” is an easy anger management meme to remember. It’s catchy and informative. Use it to prime your clients for breath-focused somatic self-regulation. Rethink anger and rethink anger management!
I am giving away a few copies of Anger Management Jumpstart to non-clinicians. While I wrote this book primarily for clinicians, I believe the book is also useful as a self-help resource. If you are interested in reviewing …
“We don’t just have neurons. We are our neurons. We aren’t “humans.” We are the Neural Tribe inside the human form. Wherever you find neurons, there – as a species – you are.”
- Neural Tribe
An article about the intelligence of crows (the so-called “feathered primates”) ends with: “Crows and primates have different brains, but the cells regulating decision-making are very similar.” (my italics)
We keep acting with surprise, we keep investigating our fellow human beings (birds, animals, fish, insects – the members of our Neural Tribe), we keep finding the same. Isn’t it historically time to just assume that wherever we find a neuron, we will also find consciousness, intelligence, subjectivity – i.e. humanity?!
There is a saying in Russia: “Not everything that shines is gold.” It’s a reference to presumed stupidity of crows that are attracted to shiny objects even if they are worthless (in our own estimation). But, of course, this saying is not about crows, it’s about us, about our human tendency (mind’s tendency, neural tendency) to over-focus on Form and be blind to Essence. So, let me rephrase this idiom for our own purposes: “Not everything that doesn’t look human isn’t human.”
Neural Tribe meme is this: neurality is humanity. Like crows we are apparently mesmerized by the glistening, shiny differences of Form that blind us to the similarity of our shared Neural Essence.
13th century Korean Zen Preceptor T’ageo, dictated at deathbed:
Life is like a bubble -
Some eighty years, a spring dream.
Now I’ll throw away this leather sack,
A crimson sun sinks on the west peak!
Life – an illusion? Awakening – a death of an illusion? Death – an awakening from a dream? Awakening – another dream?
Ask yourself these kinds of questions.
And ignore the answers.
“A crimson sun sinks on the west peak!” – ha! T’ageo, as awakened as he was on his deathbed, did, however, fall prey to a favorite illusion of ours: sun neither rises nor sets; sun simply is as we spin around it. There is a model of the mind in this. But I wouldn’t ponder it too much.
[Present Perfect series]
ref: Anthology of Korean Literature (by Peter H. Lee)
pic: Sergio Tudela Romero via Compfight
Pattern Break #108-a
Initial statement: the problem with empathy training for robots is not software but hardware. Mirror-neuron circuitry is hardware-based empathy that requires no programming.
Refined statement: the problem with empathy training for robots (and sociopaths) is not software (culture) but hardware. Mirror-neuron circuitry (of biological or technological kind) is hardware-based empathy that requires no programming/culture/modeling.
Pattern Break #108-b
All software eventually hardens; all hardware eventually softens.
Pattern Break #108-c
A mind on an autopilot is a robot lost in a mirror. Mindfulness (and humanity) begins with self-reflection: ask yourself “Who is this who is asking ‘Who is this?’” Break a pattern.