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Today’s Top Tweet – Armchair psychologists doing more harm than good?

I’m using a really old computer tonight, waiting for more RAM to come in the mail. Rather than carry my newer laptop up and downstairs all the time (which has plenty of RAM), I thought I’d just copy a quote from Today’s Top Tweet instead of using highly.co (which really only works with a half-decent computer). 🙂

People have a tendency to make accusations of mental illness against someone if they’re angry with the person, or if they sense that the person is acting differently from what is normally expected.


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Today’s Top Tweet – Big Boy and the Serpent (a brand new myth for all ages)

A couple of weeks ago I put together a new blog called msea4ever. Its About page explains the name, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to “come out” and link it to Earthpages or not. So I said nothing here.

Tonight I’m thinking, What the heck. It’s just another side of me.

So this tweet points to a new transformation myth, written by yours truly. I’ve read a lot of myths. Seems the influences here are mostly Ancient Greek and North American.

I hope you enjoy. I had fun writing it!


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Today’s Top Tweet – How some believers shut down their minds

I’ve talked about the mystic Swedenborg and how he apparently got it laughably wrong when talking about aliens.

Today’s tweeted article is interesting. It’s written by a Swedenborgian believer who recognizes the critique about aliens but still believes because he has “seen enough” to do so.

His account reminds me of believers in other faith groups. For example, some Catholics sense a joyous, uplifting feeling at the Mass, so assume this means that everything the Catholic Church teaches must be true.

Some Hindus undergo an expansion of consciousness when they perform puja, so assume that everything their branch of Hinduism teaches is true.

Likewise, some Jews may experience a spiritual solidity or centering in temple so assume that everything their form of Judaism teaches is true.

Swedenborg via Wikipedia

Swedish scientist cum mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 – 1772) via Wikipedia

And the list goes on, from sweat lodges to tin foil hats. Some believers feel a buzz (or lack of) so assume their experience “proves” their underlying belief system is entirely true.

To me, this is fundamentalism. Fundamentalism in any form usually leads to division or, on the other hand, political correctness where nobody talks about anything, preferring to gloss over differences and issues where people might get hurt.

Notice my use of the word “some.” It not only avoids problems but is fair. Not every religious person is a fundamentalist. And some people assume that all religious people are fundamentalists, which itself is unfair and misguided.

But to return to our Swedenborgian believer: Looking through the tweeted article we find his response to the critique of Swedenborg and aliens. There he seems to overlook the possibility (again, I’ve touched on this elsewhere) that Swedenborg may have picked up a type of ET (or ETs) that our modern science cannot detect—that is, other lifeforms not based on (what we often assume are) the universal building blocks of life.

Perhaps Swedenborg’s mind translated these realities in terms that he and others in his era could understand. So Swedenborg writes about “wooden buildings” and “tents” on the planet Jupiter.

By way of comparison, the Old Testament has a primitive view of the Earth. It’s way off by modern standards. But that doesn’t mean that everything the Bible teaches is false.

I’m not a Swedenborgian and the spiritual feeling I sense from that belief system is certainly not my cup of tea. But I try to keep an open mind. As the old saying goes, one person’s meat is another’s poison.


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Today’s Top Tweet – Corruption… Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves

Today’s top tweet actually comes from yesterday. I’ve been busy learning Linux (read here) so the news – or at least my commenting on it – has taken a temporary back seat.

But I’ve more or less figured out enough Linux to do the news with it. So here I go…

About today’s tweet…

When I won a scholarship to study in India I was a naive North American. I had a few misconceptions:

One… I thought Canada and the US were basically the same. Two… I thought large scale corruption only took place in seedy, faraway countries.

Image - wikimedia.org

Image – wikimedia.org

So when in India, I was offended by its obvious, in-your-face corruption.

This was the mid-to-late 1980s and you couldn’t miss it. I’m not sure about today. The last time I visited India was around 1991.

To make a long story short… on returning to Canada and the Canadian academic system, I was happy. I even felt – at the beginning – that I had found a new ‘family.’ A group of honorable people dedicated to learning and knowledge in areas I was becoming increasingly interested in — in my case, Psychology and Religion.

http://www.transparency.org/policy_re...

World Map Index of perception of corruption 2010 (Image: Wikipedia)

A few years later, however, my new ‘family’ proved to be just as weird and dysfunctional as any biological family can be. And I realized that corruption is not just an Asian thing. These days I believe it’s everywhere. We just hide it better in the West.

So I usually laugh at global measures of corruption… corruption “indexes” and so on.

Can a broken yardstick accurately measure another broken yardstick?

No. Obviously not. Measures of corruption, themselves, are inherently biased. Possibly even corrupt, themselves. That’s why I welcome today’s top tweet. We need to realize this.

Corruption isn’t just a topic for disgruntled outsiders shafted by the system. It’s something that hurts us all. And the longer we turn a blind eye to corruption, the longer it will do its damage to real people, here and abroad.


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Today’s Top Tweet – Can you petition the Lord with prayer?

I was happy to see this (tweeted) web page today. We need more talk about parapsychology. Awareness and intelligent debate about parapsychology and its link to spirituality (and nuttiness) could help those overly invested in the medical perspective on self and others.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-psychiatry. Far from it. Medications can help, short and maybe even long term. But anyone concerned with their overall health would be wise to consider alternatives. Different approaches might enable some to discontinue their meds. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but over the long haul. And that would be a good thing. Not only would their bodies like it. Others on our planet would be happier too (see Drugs in the Water).

Glancing over the articles in today’s tweet, I see a problem that often crops up with parapsychology research: The method does not match the madness, if you’ll pardon my pun.

A Japanese man bowing in prayer at the Kamakur...

A Japanese man bowing in prayer at the Kamakura shrine. from original to remove black space (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take, for example, intercessory prayer. One article concludes that intercessory prayer has no verifiable effect on health. But this begs at least two questions:

  • What kind of intercessory prayer?
  • What kind of health?

Intercessory prayer takes different forms. One is vocal (or internally vocal) and the other is more contemplative and quiet.

For me, the latter is more effective. I often liken vocal prayer to using a squirt gun to put out a fire, while contemplative prayer is more like rolling out a heavy duty fire hose. Kids play with squirt guns. Adults risk their lives with fire hoses.

Mind you, all prayer is good and we’re all different. At the same time, I think there are differences in power between vocal and contemplative prayer.

But I could be wrong. Only God knows for sure.

The second question – What type of health? – is actually related to the first.

Intercession may not be visible to everyone. But I believe it helps us, psychologically and spiritually. And contrary to what some religious people say (especially those who pass themselves off as saints while behaving more like angry nuts), I believe intercession is a multi-directional interpersonal dynamic. It’s not just one-way.

Intercession may involve degrees of effectiveness but my analogy of squirt guns and fire hoses is only that. An analogy.  Life is far more nuanced than putting out a fire.

And it takes all types to make life complete. 🙂


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Today’s Top Tweet – RT (Russian Television)… life after the zombie apocalypse?

We get RT through our cable package. Every now and then it’s fun to watch. You get a totally – and I mean totally – different slant on the news. Coverage of Europe seems a bit better than the major American and Canadian networks. But what really struck me last night was the coverage of the US.

With an almost obsessive focus on the States, RT showed clips of a seemingly harmless group of anarchist protesters being clubbed by American police in LA. In this case, I don’t think the video was lying. But I’m not sure if it was the 1992 riot or something more recent.

Members of the Toronto Police Force

Members of the Toronto Police Force (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scenes reminded me of a time, a few years back, when people questioned whether Toronto police were too heavy-handed during a G20 protest.

If a news network were to repeat a few choice clips of that Toronto event, it could make Canada look like, well, the Russian front!

But the point is, on the whole our cops are pretty decent people who do a good job, and a very difficult and dangerous job to boot. And I suspect it’s the same in the US.

Sadly, the veneer of civilization is pretty thin. This was painfully evident during a Toronto blackout a few years ago.

Before long people began to vandalize and rob. I began to feel scared. Would the downtown mobs reach my North Toronto neighborhood? A nearby bus shelter was trashed, shattered glass everywhere. They got close.

English: Plainclothes Officers -- circa 1919

Plainclothes Officers — circa 1919 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even in our enlightened age, it seems that life without cops would quickly revert to jungle life.

But I digress.

To return to RT, except for a story about apparently innocent athletes tested for drugs, I also noticed a dearth of news about Russia, itself. Always this obsessive attention to other countries. And the anchors, forgive me for saying, look like they are slightly doped. Say the wrong thing and God knows what happens to them. Even Larry King, whom I used to admire, has a show on RT. I’m not sure what’s worse. That, or his cheesy paid for TV interview/ads.

Speaking of ads, I didn’t see any on RT. Just lots of filler between news stories. Promos for RT.

By way of contrast, CNN’s Carol Costello seems so alive this morning and certainly NOT drugged. A real personality. I wonder what it is about Russians and their history that has lead to these dull, controlled mouthpieces we see on their news? Whatever happened to Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Gogol, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky? Clearly not all Russians seem like they’re auditioning for a zombie flick.

Why don’t the people stand up?


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Today’s Top Tweet X2 – Do we need a new game for a new era?

The Human Use of Human Beings

The Human Use of Human Beings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I first discovered The Conversation I was excited. I’m always looking for fresh material at Earthpages.org, and The Conversation seemed to be a cornucopia of Creative Commons material.

However, only researchers actively employed or funded are allowed to contribute. So that means any second- or third-rate thinker who gets their job or funding through a potentially corrupt system of patronage can write there. But smart people who don’t get academic jobs or funding – because they’re too clean or different – can’t write there.

This shortcoming is pretty evident in these two tweeted articles. Sure, the articles contain a reasonable amount of fairly well written material. Academics, be they cronies, stooges or not, need to perform to some degree. But also present is the usual constriction of thought that most academic game players must adhere to or simply exhibit. And it’s that very constriction of thought that earthpages.org and earthpages.ca intends to surpass.

Comment – I don’t believe we’ve ever had nonpartisan news. Different papers have always appealed to different markets.

Comment – Gosh. Back in high school we learned about checking sources and evaluating arguments. Just because someone uses the magical word “algorithm” doesn’t mean that it points to truth. This word is so common today. But it seems to mystify more than explain. Another case of human beings being duped by scientism?