The defeat of revolutions? Comfort & depression?

A little about depression … “double depression” (Dysthymia) that is and a funny perspective on the realities of society in the modern era … Link …

It reminds me of my grandparents when I was but 4 years old.  In one of a handful of those memories I actually recall vividly they babysat me.  We were at the park.  I was on bench between them.  Talking about things I didn’t really understand by telling me what things made people happy & sad.  Then instructing me one day it would be my turn to read the news papers.  I would have to know how to vote in order to help the country.  To do so, I would need to know how to read.

Also, if I knew how to read I would learn J. R. R. Tolkien was the great writer of the Hobbit & I could find more hobbit stories if I could read.

The funny part of the situation – 10 years later they were informing me they only consume media that is by comedians anymore – as the rest is too depressing … many years after they are gone, I found this today …

The distraction of the comfortable is always why revolutions fail. Once people reach a certain standard of living, they think they no longer owe it to the rest of humanity to continue fighting. They say they need a rest from all the hard work they did to get where they are. By the time they have kids, well, it’s over.

They gave it a shot.

Better luck, next generation.

Boomers, out.

But I don’t want to be their deadend.

And maybe you don’t either.

And if you’re fighting it, then you’re gasping for air while the rest of the free world is volunteering to drown.

If you’re taken in by the dread, it’s because it’s real.

You’ve seen the surface. You know this drowning world isn’t all there is.

Test.  I’m not sure why it speaks to me.  Test again.  Repeat later …

Correlation of good sleep & meditation…

Possible medical basis for meditations…by… ICUDOC  “I’m an MD, board certified Sleep Medicine physician certified by the ABIM (American Board of Internal Medicine)”

Sleep doctor here, including someone who has been involved in the treatment of PTSD. Lots of good advice here. The most important thing I can add however is that organizing your thoughts and recalling and digesting impactful, emotional events in your head is actually how the human mind works. Being alone with your thoughts, minimizing external stimulation to focus on the internal dialogue is an important daily activity even for as little as 15 minutes a day.

The problem with the modern lifestyle is you probably go from morning radio to podcast in car to Facebook, to work and Reddit during breaks and then back home to the TV. There are few opportunities for quiet reflection so is there any surprise that the first moment there are no distractions (once your head hits the pillow on your bed) you would start having your inner dialogue?

Your coping mechanism should not be more distraction and sleeping pills, but rather forced routine that involves that internal voice. Here are powerful coping mechanisms successful people use on a daily basis:

1) meditation 2) writing a diary 3) working out with minimal distractions 4) prayer 5) light house work with minimal distractions 6) sitting down and planning your daily agenda 7) opening your thoughts to a close friend or psychotherapist over regularly scheduled periods

These routine activities force you to confront your inner thoughts and you will have these necessary internal dialogues during appropriate times rather than moments you are trying to sleep.

People with PTSD (for example) who get in trouble are the kinds of people who ratchet up the distractions in their life because an inner thoughtful reflection on the horrors of life would be too painful. After awhile, distracting yourself becomes ineffective and sleep is often the first victim of a distracted lifestyle.

Good luck, I know this is hard!

Inside scoop on what an EKG sensor can & can’t tell you…

In the world of wearable “kitty ears” … Link … which move based on your mood…

And recording sensors to monitor your brain for health purposes … The Muse … Link

What is the actual Scientists Opinion on what can be told about a person?

Not much actually … Link

Though, they have been used in helping with panic attacks … Link

More toys controlled by brain waves … puzzle games and helocopters … Link … there’s an intertesing TEDTalk in this one, also dealing with controlling your google glasses screen in a method beside eye motion.  Apparently according to the article one MD claims well funded government projects are less than 20 years from being able to literally read a thought from the human mind via the high density electrodes (for interrogation).

To the man who hoped the train suicide suffered…

… I don’t know you.  You can’t know me either.

I hope you’re ok.  That your day isn’t too boring or too busy & everything in your life is fine, as well as all those you love.  I mean this, I speak from only sadness here…

I think you were probably were probably having a bad day.  I expect you deal with the consequences of people who end their lives on the rails of the place where you earn you living far more than makes the media.  I don’t expect that you are really a horrible human.  I hope you keep your job & the internet full of vigilantes with their mob justice does not get you removed or suspended.

All of that aside… it is just the pre-text to the answering of the wish you expressed over the public announcement system of a train…

Sir, I did not know whomever jumped on the rails that day – but I can assure you without a doubt that they definitely suffered.  This thought brings me to the point where I had to take a break and go walk the dog before I wrote anymore.  Then rewrote all of this again.

The suffering of this person in all likely hood began years ago.  No one who ends their lives does so because their life is great.

It was probably focused around a recurring event or person, triggered finally by something else.  At point when they were isolated in their feelings & alienated to a degree from those they loved.  That last part alone is one the most damaging things a person can experience … Link.  So damaging that jailers use it to enforce the behavior of prisons as the ultimate step.

So, yes, they suffered – likely for years – in ways that I hope you never have to understand.

Good day to you sir …

Link to original story … Link.  A link to the discussion of the other teenager who died before that at the same school … Link.

Note:

Some believe there to be a pattern in these things …

At least five communities in the United States per year experience a youth suicide cluster of three or more suicides, according to Madelyn Gould, a professor of epidemiology in psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center, who is an expert in the topic. Teenagers and young adults are particularly susceptible to what is called suicide contagion, Dr. Gould said, possibly because of the role that peer relationships play in their lives, or because of their impulsivity.  Link

A bit longer of why the news is bad for you….

I like some level of awareness for news, but this article brings up a very valid point about the “learned helplessness” which plays into some concerns by “free thinkers” that news sources are bought by the rich in order to express their opinions or inhibit/increase people’s will to fight over certain issues.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli

… Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.

News misleads. Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. What does the news media focus on? The car. The person in the car. Where he came from. Where he planned to go. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But that is all irrelevant. What’s relevant? The structural stability of the bridge. That’s the underlying risk that has been lurking, and could lurk in other bridges. But the car is flashy, it’s dramatic, it’s a person (non-abstract), and it’s news that’s cheap to produce. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated.

News has no explanatory power. News items are bubbles popping on the surface of a deeper world. Will accumulating facts help you understand the world? Sadly, no. The relationship is inverted. The important stories are non-stories: slow, powerful movements that develop below journalists’ radar but have a transforming effect. The more “news factoids” you digest, the less of the big picture you will understand. If more information leads to higher economic success, we’d expect journalists to be at the top of the pyramid. That’s not the case.

News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitisation.
News increases cognitive errors. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. In the words of Warren Buffett: “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” News exacerbates this flaw. We become prone to overconfidence, take stupid risks and misjudge opportunities. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any journalist who writes, “The market moved because of X” or “the company went bankrupt because of Y” is an idiot. I am fed up with this cheap way of “explaining” the world.

News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases[Link: http://www.wired.com/2010/05/ff_nicholas_carr/]. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.

News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It’s not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It’s because the physical structure of their brains has changed.

News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?

News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness”. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.

News kills creativity. Finally, things we already know limit our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.

Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.

I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

This is an edited extract from an essay first published at dobelli.com. The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions by Rolf Dobelli is published by Sceptre, £9.99. Buy it for £7.99 at guardianbookshop.co.uk