Monthly Archives: December 2015

Are you a Deepak Chopra fan? What a pity! Then I feel sorry for you.

If you are fond of Deepak Chopra-like quotes, or ditto articles, then you probably are a real woo. (And I’m pretty sure you are going to hate not only this blog post but ALL that is written on my blog.)

In the following article you can read, and find out, why you deserve feeling sorry for. 
 
Let’s start by having a look at: http://deadstate.org/science-confirms-it-your-friends-who-find-meaning-in-pseudo-profound-bullsht-have-lower-iqs/ . 
 
The article is entitled: “Science confirms it: Your friends who find meaning in ‘pseudo-profound bullsh*t’ have lower IQs”

The conclusion is that people who are impressed by wise-sounding but at the same time more or less meaningless – or at least mundane and truistic – New Age-like quotes tend to have a lower IQ.
 
Mr Gordon Pennycook, a PhD student who led and conducted  the research, writes in the cited paper:

“Our results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bulls**t and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims.”

In other words: It’s not only about intellectual vices (read: laziness) but also a fondness of vague and generalized statements.
Both these characteristics are typical of those who indulge in magical woo-ish bullshit thinking. 
 
But wait, don’t leave yet, there is more to come. 
 
In fact, this fondness of vague and general (and sometimes ambiguous and/or dubious) statements also means that woos seem to like to impress on others – OR to become, themselves, impressed by their peers. 
 
Such statements, often spread between members on woo-ish (New Age-) forums, seldom (almost never) contain any groundbreaking or new information. It’s rather like saying that if you are rich and healthy, you’ll probably feel much better than those do who are poor and sick. 
 
Who can argue against that sort of statements? Who will be awarded a Nobel Prize for that discocery? 
Here are three of the quotes the respondents in the experiment were asked to ponder and value:
 
1) Imagination is inside exponential space time events; 
 
2)  Nature is a self-regulating ecosystem of awareness; and
 

3) In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.

All three were liked abd appreciated by sursprisingly many of those who were classified as believers in magical woo beliefs. 

Gordon Pennycook concludes, in his paper: Those more receptive to bulls**t are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability – numeracy, verbal and fluid intelligence, are more prone to ontological [ontology = the nature of being] confusions and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine.”
 
So I doubt it’s funny to be a woo. 
 
Or, who knows, maybe woos suffer from the Dunning-Kruger syndrome? Read more about the Dunning-Kruger Effect here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-macaray/the-dunningkruger-effect_b_4476166.html and, if you want more serious information, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect .
If so, then they don’t realize or understand the message from Gordon Pennycook (or me).
In a way, that’s a win/win situation. Cf the saying: “All is well that ends well.”
Anyhow. There is a New Age Bullshit Generator available on the web. You can find it here: http://sebpearce.com/bullshit/ .
 
With the help of that generator you can reionize all the electrons in your brain. And become your own Deepak Chopra, and spit out woo bullshit statements both by wholesale and by retail. 
 
When I pressed the “Reionize electrons” button, I received the following “unique” Deepak Chopra-like message:

Joy is the richness of truth, and of us.

The goal of bio-feedback is to plant the seeds of wonder rather than turbulence. Ecstasy is the driver of chi.

Our conversations with other travellers have led to a condensing of hyper-astral consciousness.

Materialism is the antithesis of love. Yes, it is possible to disrupt the things that can eliminate us, but not without passion on our side. You must take a stand against suffering.

We can no longer afford to live with desire. You may be ruled by yearning without realizing it. Do not let it eliminate the healing of your circuit. Only a being of the stratosphere may rediscover this fusion of guidance.

Humankind has nothing to lose. Reality has always been full of seekers whose dreams are transformed into ecstasy. We are in the midst of an ever-present blossoming of love that will give us access to the quantum soup itself.

Illusion is born in the gap where spacetime has been excluded.

By blossoming, we self-actualize. To roam the vision quest is to become one with it. We grow, we live, we are reborn.

Without wellbeing, one cannot heal. The complexity of the present time seems to demand a refining of our essences if we are going to survive. Where there is materialism, being cannot thrive.

 
I JUST SAY: Beat that if you can! 

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Internal narratives: Brain networks and levels of awareness

Senses are physiological capacities of organisms. Good examples of (advanced) sense organs are eyes and ears.

With the help of the sense organs the organism receives data from its environment and can thereby increase its chances to survive.

This data information is processed by special neurons inside the organism, usually brought together in a brain.

Even an animal like the roundworm C. elegans has a brain (consisting of around 300 neurons). The brain of a jellyfish consists of around 800 neurons, fruit flies have ca. 100,000 neurons, modern humans 86,000,000,000 neurons. But don’t believe we humans have the most neurons. The African elephant has no less than 267,000,000,000 neurons (so in a way God seems to love elephants more than He loves us humans, although we are created In Imaginem Sui, in His image).

BTW, you can find more information about the number of neurons in different species here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_by_number_of_neurons

What all these neurons have in common is that they belong to different neural processing networks inside our brains.

In this blog post (I’m now reblogging) three major networks are described: (1) the central executive, (2) the default mode, and (3) the salience network. (Salience can here be translated to “Relevance”.)

Here’s a quote from the reblogged article; in it the special functions of these three networks are described:

The executive network is “responsible for high-level cognitive functions, notably the control of attention and working memory”, the default network is “an integrated system for self-related cognitive activity, including autobiographical, self-monitoring and social functions”, and the salience network “mediates attention to the external and internal worlds”. (END OF QUOTE)

The information process in our brains can also be described as consisting of at least three components. Those are (a) a detecting and discerning process (a.k.a. perception); (b) a process that brings different perceptions together (a.k.a. the associative process or, simply, associations); and finally (c) the process of trying to interpret or explain what processes (a) and (b) mean, or result in.

This third interpretative process involves inventing, or contriving, an idea that formulates the perception, and its caused associations, mentally, which is called conceptualization.

In other words, to conceptualize is to try to receive an interpretation, a.k.a. explanation, that the conscious you can feel content with and accept as the “real” explanation of what started the whole process (i.e. what your eyes and ears just reported/signaled to the thalamus and from there was forwarded to different networks in the brain).

It’s important to stress that all these networks in the brain support both unconscious and conscious awareness, that is, representations – or conceptualizations – can, and does, often operate below the level of awareness. And because all these representations always (in a healthy brain) become tagged with emotional tags (for example fear), and because they always start at a subconscious level, it’s correct to say that they are, always, in one way or another, a result of priming.

This latter process means you are prone to interpret what you see or hear in a way that coincides with your own cognitive belief paradigm systems.

That’s why Christian God believers (and UFO disbeliever) often think they see angels, demons or ghosts, while an atheistic UFO believer is convinced he/she instead sees an alien being or an extraterrestrial spaceship, from another (exo)planet.

BTW, here’s a very good article explaining the process of priming: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priming_(psychology) .

With all this said, now, at last, it’s time for you to read the article I just reblogged.

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No, that man didn’t meet any interactive ghost on the train

Here’s a good story about a man on a train trip who experienced a woman sitting on a seat next to him.

Suddenly the woman started talking to the man. But he couldn’t hear a word.
So he leaned towards her, and she seemed to lean towards him.
Her mouth was moving all the time as if she was speaking to him. But still he couldn’t hear anything of what she was trying to tell him.

After a short while he discovered, to his dismay, that the lady had vanished. Putz weg.

Anyhow, the man with this odd experience realized he suffers from a near sleep disturbance related to sleep paralysis. So he understood he had just experienced a hallucination caused by an MWR (meaning Microsleep WITH REM, i.e. a short microsleep period containing some REM dream elements or episodes).
The woman, who seemed to sit next to him, was of course not a ghost (not even of the interactive kind), but the whole scenario must instead have been part of an ongoing waking dream.
My conclusion: That man is not a woo. Kudos to him for that.
IF woos had experienced that same scenario, they would have been convinced that they just had a close encounter with a spirit contact from the “Other side” (of death) – or, maybe, a visitor from another, hitherto unknown, dimension. That’s what their belief/thought paradigm tells them it must have been. Their bizarre magical thinking produces such thoughts.
Read the whole story here: http://theassap.blogspot.se/2015/11/the-invisible-soundproof-barrier.html .
And read more about different kinds of near sleep experiences (NSEs) here: http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/articles/Near%20sleep%20experiences.html . A fascinating and most recommendable article.

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