Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Can We Scare Ourselves To Death?



A woman once told me a strange story about her husband.  When he was a teenager he stopped at a carnival to consult with a fortune teller.  She told him he was going to have a wonderful life but that he would die when he was 35 years old.  As his 35th birthday approached, he took ill and by the time he was 35 passed away.  The autopsy indicated there was no explanation of his death.  His death was an extreme example of nocebo, the opposite of placebo: he believed he was going to die, which apparently caused him to die.    

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Doors of Transcendence



What happens when we sense being stalled in our lives, trapped, stuck at a place we’re not happy to be?  In spite of the funk, we may sense something new, something higher beckoning us—but to go forward, we need a push, a jolt.

At such times, what can we do? How do we get that push or jolt? Folks from the get-go have tried to figure it out.  If we’re willing to try, there are many ways.  There are many doors to transcendence; many patterns of behavior known to facilitate breakthroughs to higher consciousness.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Tattoos and the Soul



The other morning I went for a haircut.  While the barber was cutting my hair, he and a pal of his were talking excitedly about tattoos, a topic I know nothing about. My barber and his friend were discussing the stigma attached to having  tattoos.  They were saying you get put in a box, classified as odd and possibly dangerous.  Or worse.  Something about it was suspicious, tattooing images and symbols on your body, turning yourself into a walking hieroglyph.  


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Empathy and Telepathy



The world would be better off if there was more empathy.   People everywhere and always treat each other abominably.  Many are the reasons for all the abuse, injustice,  and killing: material gain, fanatical ideology, some twisted idea of duty, demented forms of pleasure, and so on.   The victim is objectified, turned into a thing, a cipher; to be used and abused or just destroyed.  What seems to be missing is awareness of what’s going on inside the person being abused or savaged. 

What’s missing we call empathy, and people with a stark deficit in empathy we call psychopaths.  So, to be human, we need more than rational skills. We need to have some sense of the inner side of other people.  We need to cultivate our ability to enter—to feel and imagine—the soul of another human being.  Empathy is our best counterpoint to psychopathy.

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