Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology

A sober risk to deny reality

gif by @ethanbarnowsky

Alcohol and coffee are a study in consciousness — they both trigger experiences beyond the normal architecture of aliveness. 

Neither beverage medicates problems away. Rather, they open the door to other choices and chapters in life that we may not have otherwise made. That second beer gives us the courage to ask that girl to dance or that double espresso powers us through a tough or dull assignment. Conversely, both actions could also result in equally damaging results.

Stimulants and depressants aside, we’re better off starting before we’re ready because the tyranny of hesitation thwarts all possibilities. It takes courage to go out of our comfort zone and bomb.

Once stripped of the ideal results, we let go of perfection and embrace the positive psychology behind tiny actions, despite any failure. We quickly realize that reality is too sober and feel compelled to act.

“There is a positive correlation between the fear of death and the sense of unlived life,” writes Oliver Burkeman in The Antidote.

When it’s all said and done, we will have at least gained the satisfaction of trying. Because we already have everything we need to get going.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology Travel

How Japan uses blue LED light panels on station platforms to prevent suicides

Tokyo runs 13 billion passenger trips each year, making its train stations some of the busiest in the world.

Using sound design and various other psychological nudges, rail stations are able to bring some order to the chaos. One of the most effective tactics has been its use of blue LED mood lighting to prevent suicide attempts.

Photo by Allan Richarz/City Lab

Writes Tokyo resident Allan Richarz for Citylab:

According to a study by researchers at the University of Tokyo published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in 2013, data analyzed over a 10-year period shows an 84 percent decline in the number of suicide attempts at stations where blue lights are installed.

Operating on the theory that exposure to blue light has a calming effect on one’s mood, rail stations in Japan began installing these LED panels as a suicide-prevention measure in 2009. They are strategically located at the ends of each platform—typically the most-isolated and least-trafficked area, and accordingly, the point from which most platform jumps occur. Some stations, such as Shin-Koiwa Station in Tokyo, bolster their LED regime with colored roof panels, allowing blue-tinted sunlight to filter down on to platforms.

Whether it comes to the iPhone or infrastructure, Richarz’s piece is yet another reminder of how everyday design can impact our lives.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology

Airing out the ego

gif by John Corsi

Never at rest in yesterday’s form. We are always chasing something unique, railing against the establishment.

Chances are we’ve already forgotten the information we learned yesterday.

With half-closed eyes, we bustle through through life forging connections between experiences.

But then one day, it all slows down. It’s not about us anymore but other people: our kids, partners, and close friends.

The ego must be aired out.

Insecurity and security, certainty and uncertainty — it all flows from subjectivity into a way of life that helps other people too see themselves.

Categories
Psychology Tech

The link between boredom and creativity

via giphy

Boredom drives creativity for no other reason than that your mind needs something to latch onto in idle times.

When you’re bored, anything goes. Ambiguity and hyperbole are the names of the game. Your mind loves stretching the imagination and embracing irreality.

Daydreaming is a thinking activity too

Sometimes people are too corrupted by everydayness. To perceive something that doesn’t even exist is a bicep curl for the innovative brain.

So try this: take a seat, put the phone down, and do nothing. You’ll have no choice but to think outlandish thoughts to keep yourself entertained.

Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies
Categories
Psychology Science

Tips for boosting your memory and brain power

If you’re looking to boost your memory and brain power, this video contains some excellent tips and reminders.

In summary:

  • Exercise. Physical exercise helps form new brain cells and solidifies existing neurons. It also increases the hippocampus brain area which is responsible for memory and learning.
  • Never stop learning. Learning something new builds new brain cells. In fact, parts of your brain shrink when you stop learning. Be a life-long learner!
  • Play music. Learning to play music stimulates your verbal memory. This is because music training improves your left temporal lobe.
  • Use Mnemonics. Associate new information with a shortcut of memorable images, sentences, or simple words. Also, try the Acrostic and Mind Palace techniques. The more you can combine words with images, the stronger your brainpower. Keep in mind what Einstein said about creativity.
  • Gain new experiences. Do small things like eating with your weaker hand to stimulate more connections between areas of your brain. Such practice also strengthens nerve cells and ward off the negative impact of aging.
  • Try brain games. You can also your brain with puzzles, crosswords or Sudoku. Playing brain games improves cognition and keeps surviving neurons active.
  • Eat omega-rich foods. Your brain needs omega-3 fatty acids to function at its optimal level.
  • Challenge your brain. It’s vital to do small tasks like practicing math skills so you don’t outsource all your thinking to computers.

Above all, stay mentally active by engaging in mental stimulation. That does not mean chasing the nearest dopamine hit. Do any of the above tips on a daily basis instead.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology

The philosophical zombie

People generally see and believe only what’s in front of them, disconnected from the magic of their consciousness. Reality is separated from the chorus of chemical reactions inside our heads.

The prevailing theory ushered in by philosopher David Chalmers is that our conscious experience is considered the “hard problem,” a process so superior and mysterious it lies beyond the reach of science.

Do we even need a conscience?

The zombie persists without feeling anything. It is competent without comprehension.

The mind and the world are one of natural phenomenon. “We should get it straight once for all,” says philosopher and computer scientist Riccardo Manzotti, “there are no hard problems in nature, only natural problems. And we are part of nature.”

Is the conscious experience of an object identical with the object one experiences or is the conscience invisible to science and therefore thriving within its own “phenomenal mind?”

The debate goes on.

Read The Hardening of Consciousness

gif via Fran Solo