Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Describing the sublime

January 17, 2016

I highly recommend this article (“Odd Emotions“) in Psychology Today by Rebecca Webber, especially if you (1) are someone who feels a broad range of complex emotions and (2) have been raised in a world that acknowledges (let alone condones) only a handful of them.

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Island Earth

October 4, 2015

Chills.  When the earth disappeared, I actually felt a bit scared, as if I were lost at sea.  Later, when I read “and back to our home,” I actually felt homesick, and was looking forward to the journey, very much.

Gratitude (RIP Oliver Sacks)

August 30, 2015

“Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”

~Oliver Sacks

How to Believe in Yesterday

May 10, 2015

The distinction between past, present and
future is only an illusion, however persistent.

~Albert Einstein

Modern physics tells us that time does not “move” forward.  Instead, time, like space, simply is.  To us humans who cannot help but perceive our lives as proceeding from yesterday to today to tomorrow, this is a mind-boggling concept.  So let’s try to wrap some more words around it….

The laws of physics do not, indeed cannot, distinguish between an event in the “past” or an event in the “future.”  In fact, these laws do not even distinguish between change which occurs “forward” in time or “backward” in time.  The arrow of time exists only in our heads.

We humans insist that the past is gone, that only those things that can be perceived right now actually exist.  Physics tells us, quite clearly, that though this is our perception, it is not reality.  The reality is that everything, whether in the past, present or future, simply exists.  Always.  This is not wishful thinking.  This is what hard science tells us is true, even if this truth, like other hard truths from science, seems patently absurd to our perceptions (like the fact that every atom making up all physical objects is mostly empty space, even though we perceive things as solid.)

Why am I harping on this this morning?  Because this seemingly absurd description of reality comforts me.  Because it means that nothing is ever lost, nothing ever dies. It means that we are still sitting at the dinner table in the old house on Wedgemere, even though you are long gone and the house has been sold away.  It means that your infectious laugh is still ringing, even if my ears can no longer hear it.

Earth: A New Wild (PBS)

March 6, 2015

Another wonderful mini-series about this miraculous planet:  this time focusing on how humanity has upset the balance, and how humanity might save it.  I so admire the inspiring leaders in this effort; such great minds, big hearts and brave souls.

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Sensitive High

February 14, 2015

You tend to be philosophical or spiritual in your orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic.  You dislike small talk.  You often describe yourself as creative or intuitive.  You dream vividly, and can often recall your dreams the next day.  You love music, nature, art, physical beauty.  You feel exceptionally strong emotions – sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear.  You process information about your environments – both physical and emotional – unusually deeply.  You tend to notice subtleties that others might miss – another person’s shift in mood, say, or a lightbulb burning a touch too brightly…

~Susan Cain, from Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Sourced

February 10, 2015

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“Everything is amazing.”

May 18, 2014

The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical…. They to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, are as good as dead.

~Albert Einstein

TB Nicole City Exposure

The glass is half-empty AND half-full

September 11, 2012

“Some emotions – nostalgia, for example – gain all their power by being mixed experiences, with positive and negative feelings activated simultaneously….

Emotional ambiguity can be difficult in the moment, but embracing it over time reaps greater rewards than a blanket “think positive” approach.  Negative experiences are inevitable, and a coping strategy that accommodates nuance can mitigate the physiological damage of sadness and help people find meaning and value in life – even at the worst times.”

~ Lauren Friedman, from “The Perks of Feeling So-So” in Psychology Today

Nap it off

September 6, 2012

“We’ve been sleeping the way we do now for only about 200 years.  What we think of as disordered sleep might actually be what we evolved toward—going to sleep for a few hours, waking up, going back to sleep.  If you took that pattern into a clinic, though, most doctors would think of it as disordered.”

~ Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer, author of The Slumbering Masses

(Yes!  I’ll take a rainy Sunday full of naps and short bursts of activity over a long, coffee-fueled weekday anytime.)


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