Happy New Year!!
To celebrate I have listed a few of my favourite Big Thing Articles that I have read recently.
http://bigthink.com/devil-in-the-data/are-you-a-sociopath -> This article interested me as I have become more interested in socipathy recently, especially due to my obsession with Sherlock.
http://bigthink.com/the-proverbial-skeptic/the-proverbial-skeptics-5-buzzwords-to-stop-using-in-2014 -> Funny article on words we should probably stop using.
http://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/the-art-of-keeping-our-new-years-intentions -> great article on how we must persist and truly stick to our goals for the New Year
http://bigthink.com/risk-reason-and-reality/if-an-icebreaker-gets-trapped-in-the-ice-and-there-are-no-journalists-on-board-to-report-it-is-it-still-news -> interesting article on how ‘news’ is selected and is so subjective
http://bigthink.com/in-their-own-words/how-memory-can-be-a-false-witness -> reminded me of a TOK topic..
I use the phrase ‘Everything happens for a reason’ but this morning I read an article from Big Think that described this way of thinking as managing ‘to combine the maximum of ignorance with the maximum of arrogance’. Wow.
This made me think. Why do we use this phrase? I think it might be because sometimes there isn’t an immediate answer to something or something seems inexplicable or ‘unfair’. It is a kind of reassurance that life is not nice sometimes.
Here is the Big Think article: http://bigthink.com/the-proverbial-skeptic/everything-happens-for-a-reason-really?utm_source=Big+Think+Weekly+Newsletter+Subscribers&utm_campaign=6f0d91fc7a-_Here_s_What_s_New_at_Big_Think6_14_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6d098f42ff-6f0d91fc7a-40615877
More information: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hot-thought/201002/does-everything-happen-reason-0
This Big Think article perfectly expresses our ineptitude to remember how painful an experience was. At first hearing this you think NO, I know how bad this was and that day was awwwwwful and don’t even mention last week when… But are we really remembering the pain itself or the event that was painful? For example, last week I had a cold and I was very ill, nauseous, tired, the works. But apart from remembering that I was very ill I can’t remember what it felt like to actually BE ill. This is an interesting concept and the Big Think article begins with the authors account of the pain he went through running a marathon and how he is about to do another one.
The article also discusses Daniel Kahneman’s 2011 book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” which has a whole chapter dedicated to human inability to conceptualize and process pain. (I haven’t yet read the book but will be doing so after IB. :D).
I am sure you have heard of Stephen Wiltshire, commonly known as the ‘Human Camera’. Wiltshire is able to draw the most complicated landscapes after just seeing them once. What is particularly intriguing is that he is autistic and that this is one of the many examples where a perceived ‘defect’ has positive outcomes. Wiltshire is able to draw very detailed pictures which have allowed him to become a famous artist. I thought it was interesting to find out that his primary school encouraged him to draw in order to express his emotions.
Watch this short video to see his amazing talent.
Today I went to a lecture about hypnotism. I am usually quite sceptical about things like this. The idea of someone ‘possessing you’ with a swinging clock watch is rather dated but similar to what I had in mind. Instead the hypnotist today began with an insight into hypnotism itself. He said that hypnotism did NOT exist. He said that hypnotism was only successful because of peer pressure and our obsession with obedience. He said peer pressure from the rest of the audience and perhaps the hypnotist himself convinced people to fulfil the act, e.g. act like a washing machine or to jump around shooting imaginary penguins. He also said that we had an obsession with obedience that had been drummed into us from our youth e.g. when our parents told us to not touch something hot we did and from then on we learnt be obedient and to not do it.
In the second half he performed several acts including making people drink water and then clicking his fingers and they drank it again but they seemed to taste their favourite drink – which ranged from coke to red wine. I was puzzled by this. Do they actually believe this? Does hypnotism really work or where people lying? Even deceiving themselves? Personally I believe that hypnotism involves an element of convincing yourself, whether it is convincing yourself that your feet can’t move or you can’t remember your name. I like the idea that is because of our obsession with obedience and peer pressure that hypnotism works, it seems realistic but it does suggest that hypnotism is really a gimmick. The hypnotist also did one act where he asked people to put their hands together, their hands became stuck and they had to stare at their thumbs for a few minutes before trying to separate their hands. Many people seemed to find this difficult to do. And the sheer strain on people’s faces from trying to separate their hands was astonishing, when the hypnotist then touched them they then separated their hands instantly. The idea of him touching them before they could separate their hands intrigued me. It reminded me of how evangelical pastors pray and touch people so they can be healed. It was interesting to watch having seen pastors do a similar thing.
The question of Global ethics vs National interest will always be a dilemma for presidents, prime minister and other leaders of countries. One side they were elected to protect the nation they rule in all ways possible but on the other hand, it would be morally right to protect other struggling countries. Or would it? Watch this short interview of Gordon Brown, the UK’s last prime minister on how he states global ethics and global citizenship is just as important as protection for the domestic country.