One of the most common types of self-deception is self-enhancement. Psychologists have traditionally argued we evolved to overestimate our good qualities because it makes us feel good. But feeling good on its own has no bearing on survival or reproduction. Another assertion is self-enhancement boosts motivation, leading to greater accomplishment. But if motivation were the goal, then we would have just evolved to be more motivated, without the costs of reality distortion.

Matthew Hutson | 3Scientific American

Donald Trump spent more than a year rousing crowds with a simple promise: “I’ll build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall.” As the campaign wore on, it got so he could ask “Who’s gonna pay for the wall?” and the audience would roar, “Mexico!”

It was fun while it lasted. But now, in the cold light of day, some facts are coming into focus: It may not exactly be a wall. It won’t be paid for by Mexico. And it may not get built.

Steve Chapman |

I don’t think anyone should write their autobiography until after they’re dead.

Samuel Goldwyn

Facebook no doubt wants to be the personal assistant at all levels for consumers. However, like all the companies I’m going to mention, they have a data problem. This problem does not mean they don’t have a lot of data — quite the contrary. Facebook has a tremendous amount of data. However, they have a lot of the wrong kind of data to deliver a highly personalized artificial assistant for every area of your life.

Ben Bajarin | Tech.pinions

Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself–and if I accept myself fully in the right way I will already have surpassed myself.

Thomas Merton

I think back to the friend who told me that I seemed like two different people online and in real life. It really surprised me. I always assumed that I was in control of the image of myself I presented to new audiences. But the truth may be entirely opposite. Our audience is our identity.

Derek Thompson | 1843Magazine

My low point came after my divorce.

I felt like the world was ending, and I couldn’t get my engine started. And sometimes I didn’t even try.

I had failed, and I couldn’t change a thing (or so I thought). I kept thinking, “Is it really over?” I was sinking, and my air was running out.

The worst part of all was facing my kids and my former wife. You could see a numbness in their eyes. And it hurt. It really hurt.

Dan Drew | TheChangeBlog

We’re very excited about these findings as this theory completely overturns conventional wisdom.

You might think that birds choose mates arbitrarily if they are promiscuous, but most individuals prefer a certain type, just as some humans might prefer blonde or dark hair in a partner.

Our study is consistent with previous findings that polygamous birds sometimes travel hundreds of kilometres to find a suitable partner.

Tamás Székely |

I was interested in the idea that if it takes you a long time to master
That’s what interested me—the context. If we’re all naturals, then the context in which we perform what we do is irrelevant. If you’re born being able to be a scratch golfer, then why do we need to spend money developing young golfers? But actually, not only does it take a long time to get good, even if you’re really talented to begin with, it takes an incredibly long time.

Malcolm Gladwell |

Our minds were not designed to multitask. When we attempt to do so, something has to give. One of the first tasks to go is our ability to regulate our emotions, and so we end up behaving more aggressively toward others. We also aren’t able to maintain a sense of calm and balance by reassuring ourselves and keeping things in perspective, and end up with that familiar feeling of being frazzled and overwhelmed. Multitasking triggers a “danger” alert, because on some level our brains detect being over-burdened as a threat. Reducing our cognitive burden frees up our mental resources so that we can remember to be kind and reasonable in our interactions, and remain calmer, rather than feeling frazzled.

Bodhipaksa |

Writing notes

Krishnamurti: Do you know anything about meditation?

Student: No, Sir.

Krishnamurti: But the older people do not know either. They sit in a corner, close their eyes and concentrate, like school boys trying to concentrate on a book. That is not meditation. Meditation is something extraordinary, if you know how to do it. I am going to talk a little about it. First of all, sit very quietly; do not force yourself to sit quietly, but sit or lie down quietly without force of any kind. Do you understand? Then watch your thinking. Watch what you are thinking about. You find you are thinking about your shoes, your saris, what you are going to say, the bird outside to which you listen; follow such thoughts and enquire why each thought arises.

Krishnamurti | How To Meditate

My heart’s awash in waves of love:
they’re radiating out to heal the world

Diane Walker | Contemplative Photography

Perhaps the most shared characteristic among all of us walking on the planet is fear.

Michael Bianco-Splann | Intent Blog

Let’s state what the last few weeks should have made obvious: For all the bloviating the overwhelming majority of Congressmen and Senators really don’t know what they are doing when it comes to healthcare. They don’t understand population health or public health issues or patient needs. They don’t understand insurance. And they don’t understand economics.

Michael Liss |

My story begins in a small town in Western Pennsylvania, I had just graduated from high school and I had the whole world ahead of me. Nevertheless, I had no direction; I was lost with no real sense of self. Then one day, my best friend suggested we celebrate our graduation by going on a camping trip.

Sam M | The Change Blog

Remember that nothing comes from outside of the mind. The mind includes everything; this is the true understanding of the mind.Jules Shuzen Harris | Lion’s Roar

Coman has two suggestions from his findings. The first is directed at the justice system. In some US states, jurors are forbidden to take notes made during a trial into the deliberation room — a legacy of historically high illiteracy rates and a belief that the group remembers more reliably than the individual. In fact, says Coman, using notes could protect jurors from retrieval-induced biases and group-level social influences. His group is hoping to explore the impact of such rules in more depth.

Laura Spinney | Nature

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards..

Robert Heinlein

My guess is that most people have this instinctive tendency of tightening the body and tensing the mind when focusing their attention on something. This instinct is generally not helpful in meditation. I have a feeling quite a few people suffer from this when meditating.

Some effort is needed in the beginning but as much as possible, focus by relaxing into the point of focus (your breath for instance). Ease into clear sharp focus rather than tense and fight your way into it.

When distracted, simply ease back into focus again. Disturbing distractions are like flying stones. They damage only when there is something hard to strike on. If there is nothing to obstruct their path, they just fly on past. So when meditating, as much as possible, ease and relax into focus. Trying to focus by tightening and tensing yourself only obstructs the stones and makes it easier for them to hit you.

chintokkong |

There’s an old Zen saying: the whole world’s upside down. In other words, the way the world looks from the ordinary or conventional point of view is pretty much the opposite of the way the world actually is.

Norman Fisher | Lion’s Roar


I got an early hint of that when I was touring the United States for my book “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin”. This was in 2011 and I realized that Americans had really forgotten about the crimes of Stalin – which is strange because we were educated, during the Cold War about Stalinist terror.

Timothy Snyder | SZ International

Make the world your university.

Lolly Daskal |

Khazan: You mentioned things that don’t work, like highlighting a lot, or skimming your notes before a meeting. Why don’t those work?

Boser: Re-reading and highlighting are particularly ineffective. They’re just passive, and you are just kind of skimming that material. It makes you feel better. You feel comfortable with the material, but you don’t really know the material. Doing things that are a little bit more difficult, that require you to really make connections, is a better way to learn. [You might] explain things to yourself, [or] simply quiz yourself. If you’re preparing for a meeting, you’d be much better off just putting the material away and just asking yourself questions. It gives you a false sense of security, that kind of re-reading.

Interview to Ulrich Bolser by Olga Khazan | The Atlantic

In recent months, I’ve frequently found myself in places hit hard by manufacturing job losses, speaking to people affected in various ways. Sometimes, the conversation turns to the conflict people feel between the love of their home and the desire to leave in search of better work.

J. D. Vance | New York Times

On a plate, a single banana seems whimsical—yellow and sweet, contained in its own easy-to-open peel. It is a charming breakfast luxury as silly as it is delicious and ever-present. Yet when you eat a banana the flavor on your tongue has complex roots, equal parts sweetness and tragedy.

Rob Dunn | Wired

Every Arctic winter is an Ice Age in miniature.

Ross Andersen | The Atlantic

It seems many people aim to practice mindfulness so they can dissociate from their thoughts. Whilst this is generally what the practice of mindfulness is about, and it can lead to great insight (realising the self you think is suffering only suffers by identifying with the though “i am suffering etc”) I feel it may be missing the point a bit.

If we perminantly was not attached to our thoughts and impulses, what would we be. How would we have motivations and desires, a drive to act and do? How would we want to help others if we just see it as an illusion to some degree?

Is it not ironic that the cause of suffering is desire and aversion, yet to end suffering we must try avoid our desires so greatly. I always thought buddha understood the cause of his suffering because he was so attached to finding the cause that his desire for it made him suffer, and that woke him up. I have come to see meditation as a way of making people desire not to desire until they are thrown so far into their own minds in this way that they wake up in a similar way he did.

I just think letting go of all thought, for some more truthful way of living is missing the point. We are meant to be individuals who identify with their thoughts for a reason, it’s just if your attached to them and have negative and harmful thoughts you may harm yourself and others. It’s a process of change but not into a blank state, hence why the chinese incorporated emotions and experience back into meditation more. A stone buddha already exists as a stone, why should people want to be stones?

Dreago12e |

Almost two centuries ago an idea was born with such explanatory power that it created shock waves across all of human society and whose aftershocks we’re still feeling to this day. It’s so simple and yet so powerful, that after all these years, it remains capable of making people question their very faith.

Scott Santens | Evonomics

Evolution has nothing to do with progress.

Paul Braterman | 3QuarksDaily

1. Don’t expect anything. Just sit back and see what happens. Treat the whole thing as an experiment. Take an active interest in the test itself. But don’t get distracted by your expectations about results. For that matter, don’t be anxious for any result whatsoever. Let the meditation move along at its own speed and in its own direction. Let the meditation teach you what it wants you to learn. Meditative awareness seeks to see reality exactly as it is. Whether that corresponds to our expectations or not, it requires a temporary suspension of all our preconceptions and ideas. We must store away our images, opinions and interpretations someplace out of the way for the duration. Otherwise we will stumble over them.

Sleipnor |


Most religions teach that we have a choice between being selfish (bad) and being selfless (good). Surprisingly, Buddhism doesn’t do that.

Lion’s Roar Staff | Lion’s Roar

That, by the way, is why liberal students (and liberals in general) are so bad at defending their own positions. They never have to, so they never learn to. That is also why it tends to be so easy for conservatives to goad them into incoherent anger. Nothing makes you more enraged than an argument you cannot answer. But the reason to listen to people who disagree with you is not so you can learn to refute them. The reason is that you may be wrong. In fact, you are wrong: about some things and probably about a lot of things. There is zero percent chance that any one of us is 100 percent correct. That, in turn, is why freedom of expression includes the right to hear as well as speak, and why disinviting campus speakers abridges the speech rights of students as well as of the speakers themselves.

William Deresiewicz | The American Scholar

It seems to me that there are several types of loneliness. Of course, not everyone experiences loneliness in the situations described — for instance, not everyone wants a romantic partner. But for some people, the lack of certain kinds of relationships brings loneliness.

Gretchen Rubin

In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed by a random individual, the other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life. The students were then asked to distinguish between the genuine notes and the fake ones.

Elizabeth Kolbert | The New Yorker

Just as in nature there is design without a designer, so in many natural phenomena we can observe what Dennett calls “competence without comprehension”. Evolution does not understand nightingales, but it builds them; your immune system does not understand disease. Termites do not build their mounds according to blueprints, and yet the results are remarkably complex: reminiscent in one case, as Dennett notes, of Gaudí’s church the Sagrada Família. In general, evolution and its living products are saturated with competence without comprehension, with “unintelligent design”.

Steven Poole | NewStateman

We don’t always realize how much staying open is a conscious effort.

Matt Killingsworth | Intent Blog

An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.

Laurence J. Peter

Although there may be no benefit to becoming upset by every outside event in the world, there are definitely rewards for not behaving that way.

Heather Harper | Wisdom Pills

When something is memorable, it tends to be the thing you think of first, and then it has an outsize influence on your understanding of the world. After the movie Jaws came out, a generation of people was afraid to swim in the sea—not because shark attacks were more likely but because all those movie viewers could more readily imagine them.

Emily Dreifuss | Wired

In flow systems, balance is not simply a nice way to be, but a set of complementary factors – such as big and little; efficiency and resilience; flexibility and constraint – whose optimal balance is critical to maintaining circulation across scales. For example, the familiar branching structure seen in lungs, trees, circulatory systems, river deltas, and banking systems (Fig. 1) connects a geometrically constant ratio of a few large, a few more medium-sized, and a great many small entities. This arrangement, which mathematicians call a fractal, is extremely common because it’s particular balance of small, medium, and large helps optimize circulation across different levels of the whole. Just as too many large animals and too few small ones creates an unstable ecosystem, so financial systems with too many big banks and too few small ones tend towards poor circulation, poor health, and high instability.

Sally Goerner | Evonomics


In the pre-Revolutionary era, British courts in London secretly issued general warrants to British government agents in America. The warrants were not based on any probable cause of crime or individual articulable suspicion; they did not name the person or thing to be seized or identify the place to be searched. They authorized agents to search where they wished and seize what they found.

Andrew Napolitano |

There has been rising concern about Facebook’s power over many facets of our lives for years now and the concern is especially strong when it comes to news and media consumption where Facebook is becoming an ever more important channel. Because Facebook’s algorithms determine which things users could be shown they actually see, Facebook bears a primary responsibility for making decisions about the media world its users live in.

Jan Dawson |

Every day we witness women silently drowning in their “To Do Lists”. Beyond this it appears we’ve become a society which is living under a mindset or more bluntly put, the misconception, that constantly “Doing” is the way to justify our existence: to prove to the world and ourselves that our lives are valuable, that we matter and have relevance. Or should we be asking our self, is it an easy way to avoid the things we don’t want to face and deal with.

Diane Danvers-Simmons | Intent Blog

Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.

Niels Bohr | The Quotations Page

There’s a center of quietness within which has to be known and held. If you lose that center, you are in tension and begin to fall apart.

Joseph Campbell | The Change Blog

So, when The Economist says: “Unlike other aspects of American hegemony, the dollar has grown more important as the world has globalised, not less”, it is pointing to a truly deep tension. As American hegemony disintegrates, the dollar, ultimately founded on the US state, is taking on an ever more central role in the global economy.Adam Tooze |

Let go of all your assumptions

And the world will make perfect sense

Chuang-tzu |

In the hospital, I found my speech and actions could become refuges for my family and caregivers providing a space where they could feel calm, positive and helpful. I try to be honest and let people help me when they can. I try to use humor to take the edge off my complaints. Simple courtesies of thanks and asking nurses and aides how their days are going have gone a long way to making sure my care team knows that they can breathe easy around me.

As it became clear that my cure will depend on a stem cell or bone marrow donor, organizing marrow donor drives proved to be a refuge for my friends from the powerlessness of being able to “do nothing” — a space where they feel empowered to provide meaningful assistance toward finding my cure. It’s amazing to see the faces of friends and family light up when they see they have the means to actually help save my life. Complete strangers have shared with me how meaningful it is to learn they can do something so simple to help save someone’s life.

Arun Likhati | Lion’s Roar

If you sit right now for 5-10 minutes and just pay attention to your breath, you’ll likely notice the fundamental anxiety … it results in wanting to stop paying attention to the breath, wanting the meditation to be over, wanting to get on with the tasks of life, wanting distraction, thinking that the exercise is stupid, wanting to think about problems you have.

Leo Batauta | Zen Habits

We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don’t know anything and can’t read.

Mark Twain | The Quotations Page

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