Monthly Archives: December 2011

The first 5 books of the Bible

My review of the Christian Bible is not meant to be derogatory. It is meant to be an open review of the actual content of each book seen from my perspective. This won’t contain many opinions on religion, which are ideas unto themselves and will be spoke about at a different time.

I’m reading it because I figure that if you were smart 2000 years ago, you likely studied theology and therefore likely contributed to this book. So it’s got to have some intelligent tid bits here and there. I guess we’ll see.

The first 2 books of the Christian Bible are interesting. Genesis and Exodus. They tell the stories of creation and then the Jews being led from Egypt out of slavery where God tests them all over the place in the desert before he gives them the land of ‘milk and honey’.

The next 3 books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are mostly made of rules, land distributions and lineages. The rules are… well… funny. I just found myself laughing. Apparently I haven’t been stoning half as many people in my community as I should. These are the parts of the Christian Bible that explain God’s disdain for homosexuality as well. God is a referenced as being jealous on at least 5 occasions and there are many more examples of him mad; mad enough to kill many thousands of people at a time.

Onto Judges now which has lots of stories of Israel concurring different kings and regions of present day Israel.

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Mirror neurons and visualization

The simplification of  very complex topic:

When I do something, neurons fire in a certain and very specific way.

When I watch someone else do something about 20% of these same neurons fire. (re: VS Ramachandran on Ted.com)

When neurons fire in a particular sequence, they can then more easily fire that sequence (aka, every time you have a thought, it is more easy for you to have that thought again).

So what does this all mean? It means you can more easily produce stupid thoughts after watching one episode of Jersey Shore. Haha… Would you call yourself dumber? Well I guess that’s your call, but it does sound awfully close.

Surround yourself with the people you want to be like, because every time you see them doing something, 20% of your brain is acting like YOU are doing that.

This has a lot of implications for with whom you surround yourself or with whom you inadvertently spend a lot of time.  Do you not like the decisions they make? Do you slightly disrespect them? Watch out… some cognitive dissonance might be headed your way when you start accidentally acting like them.

Monkey see, monkey do.

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The orchid vs. dandelion child

I happened, this week, upon one of the most beautiful allegories to the development of a child’s mind that I have ever heard.

It is the idea that there are two types of children resulting in 3 types of final outcomes.

The types of children are named: “The Orchid Child” and “The Dandelion Child”.

Like the flower it references, the Dandelion Child can be born in either a nurturing home or a neglectful home. Either way, they will persevere just as dandelions do through many climates and adverse conditions. This is outcome 1.

The Orchid Child provides the other 2 outcomes. If born into a neglectful family, Orchid Children are far more likely to fall into abusive, self destructive behaviors. Just as an orchid will when not planted in the fairest of pastures. When born into a loving and nurturing family however, Orchid Children blossom into beautiful human beings, flourishing well beyond the average.

The article even goes onto explain that these effects are linked to a single gene: CHRM2. The gene has to do with hormone receptors that govern reward.

Again, the sciences provide us with direction for policy. It is not just children in neglectful homes to whom we should provide more resources. It is those children that present early on that they are effected by these unfortunate circumstances.

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People who read are shut-ins?

Most people view avid readers as shut-ins or socially removed. But an interesting study on the people who read lots of fiction shows that these people are quite the opposite. It shows that fiction readers are better at telling the emotion of someone’s face in a picture than non-readers, a standard test used in psychology.

Contrary to the “shut-in” view, reading fiction acts like a mental social workout. It activates your brain in the same way as if you were actually in the situations being described in that which you read. The overarching ability it develops is that of empathy (defined: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another).

Furthermore, read the same factual content from a Chekov novel written in a divorce court hearing fashion (simple, factual), and no empathy is produced.

I find it amazing that words on a page can illicit such strong physical responses from us. We are really wired for connection…

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