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Culture Politics & Society

No harm in metaphors or similes

gif by nothingisfunny

The brain works like a computer. The reference points are there — neurons resemble digital bytes, the brain is plastic and can keep learning like a droid pumped with artificial intelligence, etc.

Even Steve Jobs resorted to representations to make sense of complex, evolving circuits when he said that “computers are like a bicycle for the mind.”

We think in metaphors and similes to help frame the world. Exploiting illustrative examples streamline communication without having to go into excess detail.

The brain to computer comparison is therefore fitting, as is an athlete who’s “on fire.” Metaphors and similes crunch information into something that’s meaningful.

Save the complexity and nuance for the researchers.

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Culture Politics & Society Social Media

How status and likability affect your health 


Popular people live longer.

As social animals, the number of friends predetermines our well-being and lifespan. The gregarious live long than loners.

But life hinges on authenticity — it is not a popularity contest.

The number of people we know means nothing if there’s zero reciprocation. The other person(s) have to like us back. There’s a real benefit to solid relationships.

Think back to high school: were you amiable to a few trusted friends or sworn to attention?

The same question applies to our behavior online. It’s rare to have both status — millions of followers — and likability. The difference between the two is subtle.

Explains Mitch Prinstein, UNC psychology professor and author of the book Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World:

“Likability is markedly different from status — an ultimately less satisfying form of popularity that reflects visibility, influence, power, and prestige. Status can be quantified by social media followers; likability cannot.”

Mitch Prinstein

If we’re looking for happiness in the credibility of numbers, social media is the wrong game to play. Happiness links to likeability, not our number of followers.

It pays to be both well-known and well-liked if we want to extend our lives. So how do we start? For one, we can be kind to others, remembering their name, and seek a thread of commonality.

gif via Tony Babel

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Culture Politics & Society

Consuming valueless info

The tabloids will always outsell good books because people like valueless info. 

Instead of chasing the interesting, our eyeballs fall into the hands of attention merchants who monetize our dopamine-obsessed heads with precision drone strikes. We sell our souls to click on ads

The outcome of a Brave New World is short-attention spans and foolish entertainment. Even in a environment of niches, all this consumption amounts to an escape from the self. Variable rewards increase the appetite for more and deplete the things that matter. 

We need new ideas and different ways of doing things.  Otherwise, we are lost ships sailing to beliefs of nothing. 

gif by tessieng

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Culture Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Turning heads in the sand

via giphy

With peace comes prosperity, until people get bored. They want to start a raucous to make themselves to feel alive again. So they gulp down and share tabloid rumors.

Meanwhile, some folks prefer to turn their heads in the sand so they can ignore the swathe of breaking news. They prefer ignorance over heaps of information.

Still, a third party of people refuse both illusion and disconnection. They want and act on the facts. They rest on human intelligence.

Whatever the party, the quest for an active, minimalist, and efficient mind is a voluntary effort blending with the preferences of others in a mass heap.

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Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Why people deny the facts

Everyone gets it.

That rush of blood to the head when something or someone reconfirms your beliefs. You just knew it!

But how often is that perspective the result of wearing blinders?

The partisan brain is real and nonsense. Say and hear anything enough and of it’ll feel true. Such mimetic behavior even dupes so-called intellectuals from grasping the reality of the facts.

The sidedness has to stop. Remixing and replaying the tribe’s view does little good to resolve the long-term especially when the solution of acceptance is right under their noses.

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Politics & Society Tech

Punching back against nihilism

The brain is stuck on hype rather than facts and figures. It devours the external stimuli of incessant feeds and 24/7 news and predictably shuns the details.

If we want to overthrow the swathe of nihilism, then we need to create a system that supports credibility. The algorithm failed to do it. Pre-programmed maths exposed the human biases and fragility.

It’s not a matter of combatting the firepower of irreality but how well we can protect against its ailments. Keep in in mind that it might be too late to punch back.

art via giphy